Malawi treason suspects released on bail

March 14, 2013 - 10:29 AM

BLANTYRE, Malawi (AP) — A lawyer in Malawi says 11 top government officials and former Cabinet ministers who were charged with treason for an alleged coup plot have been released on bail.

Defense lawyer Kaleken Kaphale said Thursday that the suspects were released on bond of about $18,000 each and they also had to surrender travel documents. No date was set for the next court hearing in Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi.

Prosecutors believe the suspects conspired after the death of President Bingu wa Mutharika to undermine his deputy, Joyce Banda, and prevent her from becoming president.

Banda, now president, had fallen out with Mutharika, who wanted his younger brother, Peter, to take over after his scheduled retirement in 2014. Peter Mutharika is among those charged with treason.