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Zambia opposition chief's treason case starts, judge orders his rights be respected

Zambia opposition chief's treason case starts, judge orders his rights be respected

Zambia

Hakainde Hichilema, Zambia’s main opposition leader appeared in a Magistrate Court in the capital, Lusaka, for the commencement of his treason trial.

Hichilema who leads the United Party for National Development (UPND) was arrested last week for endangering the life of the sitting president Edgar Lungu.

He is said to have refused to give way to the convoy of the President as required by law. The police arrested him at his residence and subsequently charged him with treason. Other charges against him include disobedience of lawful orders and using insulting language on police officers.

He was attacked at his place of residence at night. He was not a danger to police. Teargas was discharged in the room he was with family.

One of his lawyers, Vincent Malambo, however, protested the manner in which his client was arrested, ‘‘He was attacked at his place of residence at night. He was not a danger to police. Teargas was discharged in the room he was with family,” he said.

At the end of the day’s presentation by prosecution and defense counsels, the magistrate gave a number of directions on how to proceed with the case.

He directed that accused be granted access to his personal doctor and that his lawyers be given at least an hour with their clients.

Another direction was that all the accused be held in a correctional facility rather than at a police station – where they have been since their arrest last week. The case continues on Wednesday April 19, 2017.

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