According to AFP, a HIV-positive Malawian man who said he had s*x with at least 100 girls and women in traditional cleansing rituals has been sentenced to two years in jail for “harmful practices”.
Eric Aniva was sentenced on Tuesday after he was prosecuted on the orders of President Peter Mutharika following his interview with a BBC radio documentary earlier this year.
The man had admitted to sleeping with different girls as part of a ritual ceremony even when he knew that he was HIV-positive.
“I convict you to serve 24 months’ imprisonment,” judge Innocent Nebi told Aniva in a packed courtroom in the remote southern district of Nsanje. The judge had found he guilty on two charges after a one-day trial.
Aniva, who had pleaded not guilty, told AFP immediately after the sentence: “I am disappointed because I thought I would be given a suspended sentence.”
Custom in some parts of southern Malawi demands that a man, known as a “hyena”, is paid to have s*x with bereaved widows to exorcise evil spirits and to prevent other deaths occurring.
At the request of a girl’s parents, the “hyena” is also paid to have s*x with adolescent girls to mark their passage to womanhood after their first menstruation.
“The convict had no regard to the feelings of widows, no regard to dignity of women and it is even doubtful that condoms were used,” the judge said. “Such a culture has no place in Malawi.”
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