The Lilongwe Magistrates Court has ruled that South African witnesses in the extradition hearing of the self-proclaimed prophet Shepard Bushiri and his wife Mary will have to travel to Malawi to give testimony.
This after the state made an application on Friday to the magistrate to have South African witnesses testify virtually instead of flying to Malawi.
Chief Resident Magistrate Patrick Chirwa said there is no legal basis for the request to have witnesses appear on video.
He said the law is very clear that witnesses must come to Malawi and testify under oath.
The fugitive couple made a brief appearance in court on Tuesday, 8 June for the court ruling.
Hundreds of their supporters were at the court in solidarity with them.
Bushiri said he and his wife appreciate the hundreds of people who always come to stand with them as they continue their journey of seeking justice.
After the ruling, loud cheering could be heard.
On Friday, Bushiri had shared his disappointment that the South African witnesses could not appear before the court, to give their testimony.
He said the claims that there were no available flights from South Africa to Malawi and that they feared Covid-19 was very untrue.
“I do not deem this excuse to have any legal basis, seeing as though, both governments in question have put in place Covid-19 measures that have ensured the safe travels of citizens for the past months.
“I am disappointed with this result because it is a repeat of events that have been taking place for the past three years when I was appearing before the South African courts for the same case.
“For three years they failed to bring witnesses through to testify against my wife and I, and today, they have done the same thing,” he had said.
The Enlightened Christian Gathering Church leaders fled Mzansi to their home country Malawi last November after being granted bail, claiming they were not safe in South Africa.
They were each released on R200 000 bail and as part of their bail they were only allowed to travel within Gauteng and North West until the case was finalised.
They handed themselves over to the police in Malawi after a warrant of arrest was issued by Interpol.