BLANTYRE-- Malawi's former attorney general Ralph Kasambara, who has called for Pres Bingu wa Mutharika's impeachment, has been freed from hospital detention on humanitarian grounds, a minister said Wednesday, several days after he was sent from prison to hospital for a heart condition.
Ephraim Chiume, justice and constitutional affairs minister, 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 together with the critic would also be given bail."
Kasambara was admitted to a private hospital in Blantyre complaining of heart problems but still being watched by several police officers at his hospital bed.
Lawyer Wapona Kita, who is a partner in Kasambara's law firm, said the police officers had left the hospital and stopped guarding his client.
Kasambara was arrested last week 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 and he brought them 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.
Kita said high court judge Godfrey Mwase had granted his colleague a second bail, but that police were ignoring the terms of his release by keeping him under watch at hospital.
Police and the justice minister still claim that the bail order was obtained corruptly, because 2,000 judicial workers have been on strike since January 9 to demand better wages.
The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) said it was looking into how Kasambara won the bail order during the strike at the courts.
Kasambara, a prominent rights activist-cum-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.
---©2012 The Maravi Post. Reproduction authorised, with usual acknowledgment