Lawyer will not appeal death sentence against tourist killers

Blantyre- Malawi (PANA) -- The defence lawyer to two Malawian young men sentenced to death Monday for the murder of a German tourist last year, said Tuesday he would not appeal the verdict describing as "overwhelming," the evidence presented to the court.
Judge Anaclet Chipeta of the Malawi High Court sentenced Bright Kachala and Winikesi Kaluwa, both in their early 20s, to hang after a 12-member jury returned a guilty verdict.
The two had confessed to killing 22-year-old biker Nathalie Toume, who was reportedly dragged into the bush and beaten to death.
The tourist had been cycling near Cape Maclear in the southern resort district of Mangochi, on the shores of Lake Malawi in May 2002.
The convicts took the lady's bike, bags and cash, and buried the loot and the body, which were later discovered by Game rangers from the nearby Lake Malawi National Park.
Defence lawyer Reyneck Matemba, a senior advocate, told PANA Tuesday he would not appeal the death sentences.
"Evidence against the two was overwhelming and they had already confessed to the killing," he said.
The convicts, both freelance tour guides, said they had murdered Toume to take her money.
The killing came a few days after Malawian tour operators complained that tour guides were harassing and robbing tourists.
"The tour guides deliberately misdirect tourists to remote spots where they are mugged," the operators said in a statement.
The Tourism Ministry expressed shock at the German cyclist's death, saying police patrols in areas frequented by tourists would be stepped up.
It welcomed the guilty verdict, saying it would serve as a deterrent.
But it is unclear if President Bakili Muluzi, who has not signed any death warrant for any convicts on the death row since he came to power in 1994, would approve the death of the latest convicts, after having repeatedly said he does not believe in the capital punishment.

11 mars 2003 17:43:00

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