FIFTEEN UPND supporters have sued the State in the Lusaka High Court demanding compensation for false imprisonment and unlawful prosecution.

Meanwhile, two other UPND members have also separately sued the State for malicious prosecution.

According to a statement of claim filed in the Lusaka High Court, John Mafuta and 14 others are seeking an order that they be awarded damages for false imprisonment from October 14 to October 30, 2017, and that they be paid K895,618 as compensation.

The plaintiffs also want to be awarded damages for malicious prosecution in the sum of K500,000 each and for mental anguish during the time of false imprisonment and trial at an amount of K400,000, for each one of them.

The plaintiffs further want the court to award them interest at 15 percent from the date of acquittal until full payment is made, and have suggested that they be awarded costs at K600,000, plus any relief that the court may deem fit.

Mafuta and others stated that they were UPND members while the Attorney General was cited in the matter as Government representative and having control of the police service who arrested and detained them.

The plaintiffs submitted that they were arrested on October 14, 2017, at the High Court grounds where they had gone to give support to President Hakainde Hichilema who was then opposition leader under the UPND and was appearing before now late Judge Mwila Chitabo.

The 15 stated that they were charged with causing damage to properties which included a motor vehicle at the High Court as well as unlawful assembly, and were consequently prosecuted.

The plaintiffs stated that they were remanded in police custody until October 30, 2017, when Lusaka magistrate Felix Kaoma granted them bail and later acquitted them of the charges in May 2018 after a long trial before him.

They lamented that they were subjected to mental anguish for no good reason, the reason why they want the State to compensate them.

Meanwhile, two UPND members have also separately sued the State for unlawful prosecution.

Job Mabuti, a farmer and ward chairperson in the UPND, stated that he was on August 3, 2016, arrested from his village on allegations that he was collecting voters cards and National Registration Cards from members of the public, that they should vote for the UPND candidate in the 2016 general elections.

He stated that he was taken to Chipata police station where he remained in police custody until September 14, 2016 when he was discharged on bail.

The plaintiff stated that he was maliciously prosecuted but acquitted on May 18, 2017, when he was found with no case to answer.

Mabuti is now demanding damages for false imprisonment and is claiming K250,000, damages for malicious prosecution of K200,000, damages for mental anguish amounting to K140,000 and K525,000, among others.

Another UPND supporter, Mbobo Phiri, a farmer and ward chairman in the UPND, stated that he was unlawfully arrested on April 18, 2015 but was unable to get bail pending trial because he was also facing a charge of aggravated robbery which was not bailable.

He stated that he was, however, acquitted on July 8, 2016 after being subjected to mental anguish for an unjustifiable reason.

Mbobo wants the court to award him damages for false imprisonment from April 18, 2015 until July 8, 2018, and is claiming a sum of K500,000.

He further wants to be awarded a sum of K415, 000 for malicious prosecution, damages for mental anguish in the sum of K350,000 plus interest at 15 percent from the date of acquittal until the full payment is made.

Mbobo also seeks K800,000 as costs plus any relief that may be deemed fit by the court.