Malawi rapture man pleads guilty
Blantyre - A Malawian man has pleaded guilty to circulating false documents, after distributing leaflets predicting the end of the world would happen last month, a court official said on Sunday.
Saduki Mwambene, a 39-year-old bicycle repairman, was arrested on April 21 for circulating leaflets published by American televangelist Harold Camping, who had predicted the so-called "Rapture" would occur on May 21.
"Police opened a case for him for circulating false documents that threatened the peace and security of citizens," said an official with the magistrate's court in Chitipa district, on the border with Tanzania.
The magistrate granted Mwambene bail and told him to report for a new hearing after May 21, to ensure the prediction was false, said the official, speaking on customary condition of anonymity.
At a hearing on Saturday, he was given a six-month suspended sentence because he "pleaded guilty and was a first offender," the official said.
This was the first reported court case over the Judgement Day fiasco, although several billboards, similar to the ones erected all over the world, were also pitched in Malawi's main cities of Blantyre and Lilongwe.
The billboards were pulled down before May 21 without any explanation from city authorities.
Mwambene was said to be repentant over his action and told police that he would never again be influenced by "false prophets," the official said, apparently referring to 89-year-old Camping, the US preacher who has since rescheduled Doomsday to October 21.