Pro-Democracy Rally Banned in Malawi; Organizers Detained

Associated Press

Malawi police outlawed a pro-democracy rally Sunday and arrested 11 church leaders who helped organize it, another church leader said.

Ten of the clergymen were released Sunday evening, and it was not known if they would face charges, said the Rev. Aaron Longwe of the Church of Central African Presbyterians. The fate of the 11th prisoner was not known.

Religious leaders and human rights groups, including Amnesty International, have accused President H. Kamuzu Banda’s government of human rights violations in the tiny, impoverished nation of 9 million. They say opponents have been detained, exiled, tortured and assassinated.


Banda, who led Malawi to independence from Britain in 1964, has rejected such charges and says Malawians favor one-party rule.

Western nations have suspended $74 million in aid to press for political reforms.

Malawi is strapped for money because of a drought and because it is caring for a million war refugees from neighboring Mozambique.