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Zambia: Police denies detained opposition leader was barred access to lawyers

Zambia: Police denies detained opposition leader was barred access to lawyers

Zambia

Zambia police on Thursday denied claims made by the main opposition party that its detained leader, Hakainde Hichilema had been denied access to his lawyers and family members.

Political tensions have been high in the West African country in the wake of last August’s election, won by President Edward Lungu’s patriotic Front (PF) party.

According to Hichilema’s United Party for National Development (UPND), the vote was rigged.

We have not blocked lawyers and Hichilema's members of the family from visiting him because that is his constitutional right.

“We have not blocked lawyers and Hichilema’s members of the family from visiting him because that is his constitutional right,” said police spokeswoman Esther Mwaata-Katongo.

According to his lawyer, Jack Mwiimbu, Hichilema was arrested and detained by police on “treason charges.”

UPND spokesman Charles Kakoma said in a statement that Hichilema “has now been denied access to see his lawyers, which is a basic human and constitutional right.”

On Saturday, Lungu passed through Mongu, 500 km (300 miles) west of the capital Lusaka, and his motorcade was obstructed because Hichilema refused to give way, police said.

He had accused President Edgar Lungu of trying to kill him after security forces raided his home in the capital Lusaka, forcing him to retreat to a safe room in the house.

The two are also rivals, Lungu has however, beaten Hichilema narrowly in two presidential elections. The patriotic leader only won last August’s vote.

Hichilema lawyer says they will definitely challenge the police action.

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