A HIV positive man who is facing charges in Malawi for having sex with more than 100 adolescent girls as part of initiation rites into womanhood was on Friday denied bail by a Malawi court.
The 45-year-old Eric Aniva was arrested last month after he revealed that families paid him between $4 and $7 to have sexual intercourse with their children in a traditional custom meant to prepare the girls to become good wives.
Magistrate Anderson Masanjala denied him bail saying “it is wise for Aniva to remain on remand so that police can finish their investigation.”
Aniva appeared before a packed courtroom without a lawyer, because he could not afford one. If found guilty he could be jailed for life if found guilty of underage sex.
Aniva, who is from Malawi’s southern district of Nsanje, is one of the men known as “hyenas” who are paid to have sex with young girls after their first menstruation.
He is said to have slept with at least 104 women, some girls as young as 12-years-old.
The ritual lasts three days.
Last month Malawi’s President Peter Mutharika ordered Aniva’s arrest, after he admitted to the act during a television interview.
The man who has two wives said he had also performed the so-called sexual cleansing act on widows and that he did not use protection, despite being infected with HIV, the virus that causes Aids.
He claimed that custom did not allow him to use condoms.
It is believed that failure to perform the little-known ritual could lead to bad fortune for the families and the entire village.