A UNIVERSITY of Huddersfield student is facing trial for treason in Africa.
Politics undergraduate Ben Chiza Mkandawire was arrested with four other democracy activists in Malawi.
Gemma Wassall, president of the university’s Amnesty International Society, told the Examiner last night: “We are currently attempting to set up a campaign to release wrongly arrested activists in Malawi.
“One of the people is a student at Huddersfield University so it is an issue which is close to our hearts.”
Mr Mkandawire was arrested after taking part in a demonstration outside the Malawian parliament in the capital Lilongwe.
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 Mukhita 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 were arrested last Friday.
The protestors appeared at Lilongwe Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday charged with sedition and holding a demonstration without written police permission.
The activists were released on bail and ordered to report to police every second Wednesday.
Amnesty’s Africa director Erwin Van Der Borght condemned the regime for arresting the demonstrators.
He said: “The Malawian authorities appear to have arrested these activists solely for exercising their right to peaceful protest.”
Mr Mkandawire is a trustee of the Youth Leadership Project Africa which he helped set up two years ago.
He was born in Lilongwe an attended Likuni Boys School in the city.
Mr Mkandawire studied journalism at Westminster Kingsway College and graduated in 2003. He later moved to study at Huddersfield.
He spelt out his political beliefs in an interview with Malawian magazine Timve in March.
“I am an activist first, I believe in freedom and democracy,” he said.
“When I say I will die for the people, I mean dying for a belief that I subscribe to, a belief that one has to live and die for.
“Political activism involves not taking sides, not being corrupted, not easily moved by the winds, one has to always stand firm, constant like a northern star.”
Mr Mkandawire also spoke of his strong Christian belief and his opposition to Malawi’s harsh anti-gay laws.