Police lurch on UPND’s court application to punish HH

Police spokesperson Esther Mwaata Katongo says UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema cannot be taken to court to take plea in treason case until the matter in which he applied for Habeas Corpus is disposed off.

The UPND made a Habeas Corpus application, demanding that HH is taken before court on grounds that his detention was illegal and that he had not been charged.

The police, through Assistant Superintendent Mpazi Mbita, however argued that the matter had been overtaken by events as HH had finally been charged and further submitted that there was no need for the application to be considered.

But Lusaka High Court judge Getrude Chawatama reserved her ruling to April 18.

The position taken by the police command means the docket of case against HH will not be submitted to Director of Public Prosecutions Lillian Siyunyi, who otherwise has the authority to take HH to court even before the Habeas Corpus matter is concluded.

If judge Chawatama choses to adjourn the matter further after April 18, this may see HH staying longer in secluded police custody without appearing in court.

Responding to questions from journalists today, Katongo said police could not proceed when the other case was still active in court.

“We cannot proceed when there is another hearing concerning the same case…Habeas Corpus,” said Katongo.

On Monday, heavily armed police raided HH’s house seeking to arrest him for failing to give way to the Head of State’s motorcade in Mongu.

The following day, HH was arrested and jointly charged with five others for treason, among other charges.

HH’s wife, Mutinta narrated to journalists how police destroyed property and used excessive force in their pursuit.

         

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