Respicius Mtazangira, a 51-year-old teacher in Tanzania has been sentenced to death for maliciously beating a pupil, whose injuries from the beating led to his death..
Justice Lameck Mlacha said Mtazangira, had acted maliciously when he repeatedly hit 14-year-old Sperius Eradius with a blunt object last August. He had accused the teenager of stealing a female teacher’s handbag.
Mtazangira’s co-accused Heriet Gerald, the female teacher whose handbag the child was accused of stealing, was not found guilty of committing an offence.
Even though corporal punishment is illegal in Tanzanian schools the practice is still common in many schools.
However, this is the first time a severe punishment would be mete out to a teacher, in what many see as a deterring judgement aimed at protecting schoolchildren in the country.
News of the boy’s death last year at Kibeta Primary school in Bukoba town sparked national outrage and demands for justice. The family of Eradius refused to bury his body until the culprit was arrested.
Although death sentences can be handed down by law, Tanzania has not carried out an execution since 1994.
Mtazangira has the right to appeal.