“Cannibalism is not a crime” – S.African expert

The trial is about to start of five men in KwaZulu Natal in relation to alleged cannibalism. In July 2017, a man appeared at Estcourt police station and claimed he was “tired of eating human flesh”. This led to his and the others’ arrests, after body parts were discovered in their possession.

When the men first appeared in court, police fired rubber bullets and stun grenades to break up crowds hurling insults at them.

The suspects were back in the dock at the Estcourt Magistrate’s Court, KwaZulu-Natal, last week, Estcourt News reports, but the trial was postponed as the state reported that the mental assessment of accused number one, Nino Mbatha, is incomplete. He was admitted into Fort Napier Hospital during the second week of March, after he was found mentally and emotionally unstable.

Image result for Accused number one, Nino Mbatha
Accused number one, Nino Mbatha is still undergoing a mental assessment.

The Ladysmith Gazette reported that hundreds of people in the Amangwe area confessed to cannibalism – being given human flesh to eat as traditional medicine. But former police profiler and forensic psychologist Professor Gérard Labuschagne says that cannibalism in South African was “a very rare thing”. “It’s not occurring frequently and is not associated with multi murder… Remember there is no crime for cannibalism like there is no crime for taking drugs. You are charged with dealing in drugs. And for cannibalism, you will be charged with the possession of human body parts,” he said. “If you cut the parts of a dead body you will also be charged with desecration of a corpse. So you have to be cautious, and, remember, police often arrest people and then withdraw the charges. We can’t assume all were eating the body parts.”

The case resumes on April 16.

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