A HUDDERSFIELD student facing trial for sedition is urging his friends in the town to “keep the pressure on”.
Ben Chiza Mkandawire was arrested after taking part in a pro-democracy demonstration in Malawi.
The second year politics student was released on bail but faces trial for sedition and holding a demonstration without written police permission.
Mr Mkandawire emailed classmate Gary Bunton to urge people in Huddersfield to step up the campaign for the charges to be dropped.
He wrote: “The chances are the regime is desperate to silence me completely, together with other human rights activists, so they might send us back to jail.
“We need as much noise and pressure on them, my brother. Get the campaign going. I will appreciate it.”
Members of the University of Huddersfield’s Amnesty International Society have written to the Malawian government demanding charges are dropped against Mr Mkandawire and four other activists arrested at the same protest.
In a letter to the Inspector General of Police Peter Mukhito, they wrote: “Exercising the right to peaceful protest is a basic human right.
“The people arrested pose as no threat to society and they were not technically breaking the law.”
University of Huddersfield’s Amnesty International Society president Gemma Wassall said yesterday: “We want to bombard the Malawian government with letters calling for the activists’ release.
“We also plan to start collecting signatures for a petition at the university from next week.”
Mr Mkandawire was arrested after taking part in a demonstration outside the Malawian parliament in the capital Lilongwe on October 14.
He was part of a group carrying a banner calling president Bingu wa Mutharika a dictator.
The protesters also demanded the resignation of police inspector general Peter Mukhito and called for an investigation into his alleged involvement in the death of student activist Robert Chasowa last month.
Mr Mkandawire and fellow activists Billy Mayaya, Habiba Osman, Brian Nyasulu and Comfort Chitseko appeared at Lilongwe Magistrates’ Court on October 19 charged with sedition and holding a demonstration without written police permission.
The five were released on bail and ordered to report to police every second Wednesday.
Mr Mkandawire was born in Lilongwe an attended Likuni Boys School in the city.
He is a trustee of the Youth Leadership Project Africa which he helped set up two years ago.
Mr Mkandawire studied journalism at Westminster Kingsway College and graduated in 2003. He later moved to study at Huddersfield.
Anyone who wishes to appeal for charges against Mr Mkandawire’s to be dropped can write to:
President Bingu wa Mutharika, Office of the President, Capital Hill Circle, Private Bag 301, Lilongwe 3, Malawi
Or email firstname.lastname@example.org