David Sikananu, who has sued the Attorney General in the Lusaka High Court, wants a declaration that the officers had no right under the COVID-19 regulations or any other laws to humiliate, assault, torture or subject him to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
He also wants a declaration that the police had no right to violate his human rights under the guise of enforcing the COVID-19 regulations or any other laws or regulations applicable in Zambia or any other directive for enforcing measures for the prevention of COVID-19.
Sikananu is further seeking damages for false imprisonment, including exemplary damages, as well as an order that the medical report form dated the April 23, 2020, be corrected to reflect the fact that he was beaten or assaulted by the Zambia Police officers.
In his statement of claim filed in the Lusaka High Court, May 15, this year, Sikananu explained that on April 22, this year, around 17:30 hours, while enjoying good health, he went to a bar called Kimata at the market called Big Jose in Obama area to play a game of billiards, which was not a contact sport.
Sikananu narrated that around 18:30 hours, four unknown police officers from Chelstone Police Station, while ostensibly enforcing the Public Health COVID-19 Regulations (SI no 22 of 2020), descended on the bar.
He claimed that upon gaining entry into the bar, the officers took turns in unlawfully beating him and other patrons using a plank and a truncheon.
“Upon gaining entry into the bar, the Zambia Police officers (one plain clothed officer brandishing a plank with metal or sharp objects, another plain-clothed officer brandishing a truncheon, a uniformed officer brandishing an AK 47 assault rifle and another plain-clothed officer manning one of the doors to the bar) ordered Sikananu together with the other patrons in the bar to sit down on the floor which was filthy and dirty,” read the statement of claim.
“Thereafter, the said officers, while hurling abuses and insults at Sikananu and the patrons, took turns in unlawfully beating or assaulting Sikananu and the other patrons using the said plank and truncheon.”
Sikananu further claimed that he was repeatedly beaten or assaulted on his arms, hands and feet and in the process he sustained deep cuts, in the process experienced excruciating pain and bled profusely.
He stated that as a result, he was unlawfully humiliated, assaulted, tortured and subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment by the Zambia Police officers.
Sikananu added that the said police officers had no right whatsoever under the COVID-19 regulations or any other laws to humiliate, assault or torture him.
He stated that he was also wrongfully imprisoned and deprived of his freedom for about 30 minutes.
“The Zambia Police officers had no right whatsoever under the COVID-19 regulations or any other laws or regulations applicable in Zambia to confine or detain Sikananu in the manner that they did on the material day. By reason of the confinement, the Plaintiff sustained great anxiety and suffered loss and damage,” read the statement of claim.
He added that the said conduct by the Zambia Police officers was arbitrary, oppressive and unconstitutional.
“As a result, Sikananu’s human rights were without any lawful justification whatsoever grossly violated by the Zambia Police officers,” read the statement of claim.