A Malawian man accused of sleeping with 100 girls and women in a series of ritual cleansing acts, on Monday failed in his second bid to be freed on bail.
Prosecutor Christopher Botoman opposed the bail request for Eric Aniva over fears that he could “intimidate and influence” witnesses not to testify in court.
Given the “nature and seriousness of the offence and the severity of the punishment if convicted” it would “not be in the interest of justice to release the accused on bail.”
Malawi, which has one of the highest HIV infections in the world, criminalises sex with a person under the age of 16.
The prosecution also said the 45-year-old — who has said he is infected with the AIDS virus — was likely to jump bail and cross the border into Mozambique.
But Aniva, whose first bid to secure bail was earlier this month, rejected the idea, saying he was “not scared” to face trial.
The little-known local practice of having sex with adolescent girls to mark their passage to womanhood is performed in southern Malawi by men known as “hyenas” at the behest of a girl’s parents after her first menstruation.