Skip to main content arrow-down arrow-tail-right arrow-triangle-right calendar camera compass download email eye facebook flag mail phone pin play send square-right tag twitter youtube badge message

Malawi Court Orders Immediate Release for Death Row Prisoner

  • News
  • 20 Aug 2015

After 13 and a half years languishing on death row, Richard Chipoka was resentenced by the Malawi High Court and released immediately.

Chipoka was just 21 years old when he was sentenced to the mandatory death penalty, which was subsequently declared unconstitutional in Malawi in the landmark case of Kafantayeni and others v The Attorney General of Malawi.

Chipoka is now the third prisoner, who had remained on death row since the abolition of the mandatory death penalty in 2007, to be resentenced. In April 2015, Aron John and Tony Thobowa’s death sentences were set aside and both will be released in approximately 4 years time. To date, the courts have

also resentenced 51 of the 192 prisoners who had already been commuted to life imprisonment post-Kafantayeni, but were still entitled to have their cases considered based on their individual circumstances.

In presiding over Chipoka’s re-sentencing, Justice Nyirenda took into account strong mitigating evidence, which included a psychiatric report and character statements from his village members. He also noted that Chipoka was a young man when the crime was committed and also a first-time offender, and therefore deserved leniency. Chipoka was resentenced to 20 years imprisonment, but taking into account the 13 and a half years he had spent on death row and remission for good behaviour, he was released immediately.

Emile Carreau, a volunteer lawyer from Australia, said:

“Richard is over the moon with the result. He has been reunited with his family and received a warm welcome by his village upon his return yesterday. Richard has spoken at length about his intention to find work to support his family and to re-integrate back into his community”. 

Watch a short video clip showing Richard Chipoka’s return to his village after 13.5 years, and his community welcoming him back.

Latest news

PRESS RELEASE: Future of the death penalty in Taiwan to be determined by historic legal challenge
Read More
The Telegraph: Will Africa be the next continent to abolish the death penalty?
Read More
Privy Council quashes murder convictions in Jamaica, highlighting the importance of fair trial rights
Read More
Focus on Africa podcast - Why African countries are saying no to the death penalty
Read More
Zimbabwe's Cabinet backs proposed legislation to abolish the death penalty
Read More
Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty: Dignity. Justice. International Symposium on the Right to Life - Taiwan Death Penalty Prison Interview Project
Read More
BLOG: Human Rights Day 2023 – Challenging the myth of public support for the death penalty
Read More
Life After Death Row: interview with Wenceslaus James
Read More
Sunshine Today T & T: "I heard my cell mate executed"
Read More
Attorney to Government: Make up your mind about the death penalty
Read More
Longest serving death row prisoner in T&T released by High Court
Read More
Death row inmate released after resentencing - FREED AFTER 30 YEARS
Read More
Longest serving death row prisoner in T&T released by High Court
Read More
PRESS RELEASE: Longest serving death row prisoner in Trinidad & Tobago released by High Court
Read More
UK Pro bono week – interviews with DPP’s network
Read More
Pressure mounts for Kenya to abolish death penalty
Read More
2023: 21st World Day Against the Death Penalty
Read More
“Serious breach of procedural fairness” - excessive manslaughter sentence quashed in The Bahamas
Read More
Ghana Web: Alban Bagbin praised for repeal of death penalty
Read More
IBAHRI commends abolition of the death penalty - Ghana
Read More

Stay up-to-date with our work