Sunday, April 23, 2017

ZAMBIA: Detained Opposition Leader Accused of Treason-URGENT ACTION

Leader of the United Party for National Development (UPND), Mr Hakainde Hichilema was arrested on 10 April. He has been charged with treason over allegations of obstructing the Presidential motorcade as it was on the way to a traditional ceremony held in the Western Province on 8 April. Treason is a non-bail able offense punishable by death in Zambia. Hakainde Hichilema is being detained at Lilayi Police Camp, a police training school outside Lusaka. 

Hakainde Hichilema is the president of the main opposition political party in Zambia, the United Party for National Development (UPND). Hakainde Hichilema contested against President Edgar Chagwa Lungu in the presidential elections held on 11 August 2016, where he was narrowly defeated. Following the defeat, UPND challenged the electoral results and their petition was thrown out by the Constitutional Court, without being heard by three Constitutional Court judges who took the decision without involving two other Constitutional Court judges.
Hakainde Hichilema was arrested alongside UPND vice-president Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba in Luanshya on 6 October 2016 while on their way to visit their supporters in prison. Some members of the party have been in custody since August 2016. Hakainde Hichilema has always availed himself to the police whenever they have wanted. UPND members and activists have been subjected to harassment and arbitrary arrests in the past.

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