A Lusaka man has sued the Zambia Police Service in the Lusaka High Court for unlawfully detaining him since December last year, without being charged.
Dauti Sinkutwa of Lusaka’s Garden Park along New Mumbwa Road has also sued the Attorney General, saying his continued detention was unconstitutional in that his rights to freedom and liberty were being blatantly violated.
In an applicant’s affidavit in support of leave to issue a writ of habeas corpus filed in the Lusaka High Court, Tuesday, Sinkutwa stated that on December 21, 2019, he was detained by police officers at Plainview Police Post when he, in the company of his pregnant wife, went to the said police post to lodge a complaint against one of their neighbours, named ‘bana Chimfwembe’ and a certain ‘Mr Bumelo’, an off-duty police officer, who was intoxicated at that time.
He stated that the following day on December 22, he was transferred from the said Plainview Police Post to Kanyama Police station, before he was finally taken Lusaka Central Police station.
Sinkutwa stated that he was interviewed, and a warn and caution statement read out to him, upon which he was advised that a charge of attempted murder was being contemplated against him.
“I was informed that they could not release me on police bond until further notice as they had not yet formulated the charge,” read the affidavit.
He stated that he truly believed that Zambia Police was vindictive and abusing their powers by declining to grant bond or bringing him before a competent court because from the time of his arrest, he hadn’t been charged or presented before a court of law to any charge.
“This continued detention without being charged is not only unjustified but also unlawful as it is unconstitutional in that my fundamental rights to freedom and liberty are being blatantly violated and unfairly prejudiced. All attempts to have the matter brought before courts of law have been futile as Zambia Police’s servants or agents insist that I remain in police custody,” read the affidavit.
Sinkutwa further stated that he had been reliably advised by his lawyers and truly believed that any person who was arrested or detained and who was not released shall, without undue delay, be brought before a court.
“I have been reliably advised by my advocates and verily believe that a person alleged to have committed an offence has a constitutional right to protection of the law in that he is presumed innocent until found guilty. And if he is not tried within a reasonable time, then he shall be released either unconditionally or upon reasonable conditions. But I have been incarcerated for over 42 days,” read the affidavit.
“I strongly believe the factual issues given herein that have prompted this urgent application are full, frank and sufficiently clear to warrant this honourable court to grant me leave for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus Ad Sibjiciedum. As prayed.”