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Judicial CP - June 1984

Amnesty, UK, June/July 1984

Public flogging increased

THE MOZAMBIQUE Government has adopted a new law introducing public flogging as a punishment for a wide range of political and criminal offences.

The new legislation, said to be a "punitive and educative measure" to curb a recent crime wave, was passed within weeks of the reintroduction of the death penalty in Mozambique.

More than 100 people are believed to have been publicly flogged in the past year. Among the people whipped with an animal skin lash called a chamboco were a woman who had given birth only a short time before, and six students at Maputo University convicted of "agitation".

The sentences, up to 30 lashes at a time, are carried out without medical aid for the victims. Some people are reported to have suffered permanent injuries.

Flogging was a common form of punishment under Portuguese rule, but was outlawed when Mozambique became independent in 1975.

It has now been made mandatory for several "economic" offences such as smuggling and black-marketeering. The number of flogging sentences increased rapidly after President Samora Machel publicly complained that too few people were being whipped.

The cases include a dock worker convicted of stealing maize who was publicly flogged in Maputo docks before a crowd of some 600 people last May and a woman accused of illtreating her child, who was also flogged in public last August.

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Copyright Colin Farrell 2002