UA 329/92 - Malawi: death in custody of prisoner of conscience / fear for physical safety / fear of harassment: Orton Chirwa, Vera Chirwa, members of the Chirwa family
Orton Chirwa, the former Attorney General of Malawi, died in prison in Zomba on 20 October 1992. Aged 73, he had been imprisoned for nearly 11 years for non-violent opposition to the single-party government of Life President Banda. He was the oldest and, with his wife Vera, the longest- serving prisoner of conscience in Africa. The cause of death is not immediately apparent. A delegation of British lawyers who saw him in September 1992 reported that he was in very poor health - virtually deaf and blind. At various times during his imprisonment he had been kept in leg irons and much of his imprisonment was spent in solitary confinement. The prison diet is inadequate and he does not appear to have received proper medical care.