Malawi: Mutharika's critic freed

2012-02-22 11:28

Blantyre - Malawi's ex-attorney general Ralph Kasambara, who was arrested after calling for President Bingu wa Mutharika's impeachment, has been freed from hospital detention, a minister said on Wednesday.

Kasambara was taken to a maximum-security prison last week, but moved to a hospital under police guard to receive treatment for a heart condition.

Justice Minister Ephraim Chiume told state radio Kasambara had been "freed on humanitarian grounds and given police bail based on the medical report the government had received".

He said five other people arrested with Kasambara would also be given bail.

Kasambara was arrested on February 20 in Blantyre after he allegedly assaulted three men who tried to petrol bomb his office in what he says was a failed assassination attempt.

His private bodyguards reportedly beat the men, whom he then brought to police in his personal vehicle. He was arrested, but won a court order for his release.

But he was arrested again hours later and taken to a maximum-security prison.

Kasambara was admitted on Friday to a private hospital in Blantyre complaining of heart problems but still under police watch.

Lawyer Wapona Kita, who is a partner in Kasambara's law firm, said the police officers have now left the hospital.

Kasambara, a prominent rights activist-turned-politician, was arrested after calling for the impeachment or resignation of Mutharika for incompetence and violating the constitution with his failure to resolve the judicial strike.