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Fr. Muhosha, found guilty of playing a role in the murder of an albino man in MalawiZomba Diocese/Facebook

BLANTYRE, Malawi (LifeSiteNews) – A Catholic priest is among 12 suspects found guilty over the murder of a 22-year-old man with albinism in Malawi.

Malawi24 reported that Fr. Thomas Muhosha was among seven suspects who were found guilty for the March 2018 abduction and murder of a 22-year-old man, MacDonald Masambuka, with albinism.

On April 28, 2022, in Malawi’s Blantyre High Court, Judge Dorothy Nyakaunda Kamanga declared that the 12 suspects intended to kill Masambuka before extracting his bones, with the aim of selling them for profit. 

The sale of body parts from people with albinism is a lucrative part of the black market, as such body parts are believed to bring good luck. The body parts are also used in rituals pertaining to witchcraft and black magic. 

Judge Kamaga noted that Masambuka “is the latest victim of violent attacks on persons with albinism who have not been protected by the community.”

“This is a violation of the right to human life and the greatest violation of the rights to life and integrity for persons with albinism,” she said.

Fr. Muhosha was one of seven suspects found to be guilty of selling Masambuka’s body parts, while the other five suspects were found guilty of actually committing the murder, including Masambuka’s brother – Cassim White Masambuka.

Masambuka was last seen on March 9, 2018, when he went to meet his brother who had reportedly found a girl for Masambuka to marry. According to court documents, upon arrival at the scene, Masambuka was seized by his friends, murdered, his body burned with petrol, and then buried. 

His corpse was later found April 2, 2018.

Fr. Muhosha, of the Catholic diocese of Zomba, was suspended by Bishop George Desmond Tambala on April 17, 2018, after the diocese learned of the “allegations” made against Muhosha regarding Masambuka’s murder.

Bishop Desmond wrote of the diocese’s “profound shock and shame” over the accusations against Muhosha, saying that the diocese “has always strongly condemned the killing of our brothers and sisters with albinism.”

Muhosha was formally suspended from the priesthood while the diocese awaited the outcome of the civil trial, but with the promise of a canonical trial following completion of the civil trial. “Upon the conclusion of the matter by a competent court of law, due Church processes will follow according to the prescriptions of Canon Law,” wrote Bishop Desmond in 2018. 

The 12 guilty suspects will now be sentenced on May 31.

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SIGN this petition calling on Indian legislators to protect Christians from unjust anti-conversion laws. 

Christians are being attacked relentlessly by violent Hindus in India, but some Indian states are compounding this persecution by jailing those accused of converting Hindus to Christ. 

Using "anti-conversion laws", eight Indian states have outlawed any attempt by minority faiths such as Christianity to convert members of the majority Hindu population.   

Please tell Indian legislators that their anti-conversion laws must be scrapped.

Christians know that, like St. Paul who himself was jailed (2 Tim 2:8-10), we cannot remain silent in announcing Christ to unbelievers (Acts 5:17-26), but our Indian brothers and sisters in faith are being imprisoned on trumped up charges when they have not violated any of these unjust laws.

Legislators in eight Indian states have created vaguely-worded "anti-conversion laws", leaving the door wide open to minorities being accused of "allurement" or "coercion" when sharing their faith with Hindus. 

The wording often states that "no person should convert or attempt to convert, either directly or indirectly, any person from one religion to another by use of force or by allurement or by any fraudulent means".

The states of Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand have already introduced these laws, with several more expected to follow.

Legislators have ignored the fact Christians are entirely opposed to forced conversions or deception, instead bowing to the demands of Hindu extremists worried that Christ is winning the hearts of Indians long maltreated in the inhumane caste system.

The false allegations of coercion made against Christians have resulted in the widespread persecution of believers across the country.

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As K.V. Turley reported on LifeSiteNews, one reason Christians and other minorities are persecuted is because of the growing popularity of the nationalist Hindutva ideology.

This ideology demands a Hindu-only India, resulting in sustained violence against those who would lead Hindus to Christ. 

Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, then-General Secretary of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of India, said as early as 2018 that even members of the ruling Barathiya Janata Party (BJP) are "using false accusations to incite hate. And nobody in their party or in the government is revoking their problematic statements.”

The latest anti-conversion bill is set to be passed in Karnataka state, where Christians will face jail terms of up to 10 years if found guilty of converting others by alleged "force", "fraudulent methods", or as a result of marriage.

Karnataka has seen a significant increase in Hindu attacks on Christian priests, pastors and laity, with the BBC reporting at least one violent incident in 21 out of 31 districts. 

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Right-wing Hindu radicals are known to barge into houses or churches where prayer sessions are conducted and demand the identity of those in attendance. 

If Hindus are in the audience, conversion charges are pressed and the pastors are arrested. The onus of proof is on the pastors, catechists or priests.

Another issue is that Catholic priests, brothers and nuns teach, educate and empower the dalits (untouchables), the tribals and the poor. These then stand up for their rights, which is not pleasing to many politicians.

This petition will be sent to the Indian ambassadors to the USA and Canada, the Ambassador at Large of the United States for International Religious Freedom, the High Representative of the EU's Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and the president of India's ruling BJP party.

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For More Information: 

Blind couple in India was stripped and beaten for being Christian. Their six-year-old saw it all

Indian archbishop condemns government’s demolition of Jesus statue

Open Doors UK - Christian persecution in India

ACN: Catholic priest condemns Indian government's inaction

**Photo Credit: Video screenshot of a statue of Christ about to be destroyed by authorities in Karnataka on February 14, 2022**

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However, Ian Simbota of the Association of Persons with Albinism, pre-empted the sentence and called for a harsher sentence for Muhosha: “When the judge was reading, what concerned me was that part of a [Priest] Father Muhosha [and others] who have been convicted of transacting body parts.” 

“If you go to the Anatomy Act, it is not so hard on such offenses,” he said. “So, we are really looking forward to the judge, if at all it’s possible, to put a human face to the case so that at least we really need to see serious sentencing on this case.”

Speaking to Crux, secretary general of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi, Father Henry Saindi, said that “Malawi has the worst case of killings, attacks, and abductions of persons with albinism in Africa.” There have been over 200 officially reported cases in Malawi since 2013, added Fr. Saindi.

A now archived 2009 report from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies reported senior police officers in Tanzania suggesting that “a complete set of albino body parts – including all four limbs, genitals, ears, tongue and nose – was fetching the equivalent of 75,000 US dollars.”

The news of Muhosha’s involvement in Masambuka’s murder comes only days after another Catholic priest was jailed for his role in “plotting” to kill a bishop-elect in South Sudan. Fr. John Mathiang was sentenced to seven years in jail for his role in the attempted assassination of the bishop-elect of Rumbek diocese in South Sudan. 

He had previously run the diocese in the absence of a bishop for over seven years.

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