US Senator asks Lungu to release HH

United States Senator Ben Cardin has written to President Edgar Lungu, informing him that the latest American State Department Country Report for Human Rights indicates that the Zambian government has taken selective steps to prosecute those who opposed the ruling party.

In a statement released by the United States Committee on Foreign Relations yesterday, the ranking member of the American Senate called for the release of detained UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema, adding that his arrest was politically motivated.

Below is the letter that Senator Cardin wrote to President Lungu.

Dear President Lungu:

I write with concern about the detention of opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema in the wake of the raid on his residence on April 10, and urge you to ensure that he is treated humanely, in accordance with the rights put forth in the Zambian constitution and the African Charter of Human and Peoples Rights, to which Zambia is a signatory.

Zambia is one of Africa’s most established democracies, with a long tradition of political pluralism, respect for human rights and democracy, and peaceful resolution of conflict. I am concerned that Mr. Hichilema’s detention signals the potential closing of political space in your country. During last year’s general elections, the Independent Broadcasting Authority suspended licenses for three broadcast stations and raided a newspaper, ostensibly for non-tax compliance. There were also arbitrary arrests of opposition leaders and journalists.

The most recent State Department Country Report for Human Rights indicates that your government has only taken “selective and halting steps to prosecute or punish officials who committed these abuses, targeting mostly those who opposed the ruling party.” I urge you to take proactive steps to bring an end to politically motivated arrests, and ensure that officials who engage in such actions are held accountable in accordance with Zambian law. I also hope that you and all political actors will exercise restraint, respect the rule of law and follow due process, as expected by the Zambian people.

The Senator also raises Hichilema’s case with Capitol Hill Press Corps.


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2 Comments on "US Senator asks Lungu to release HH"

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Asking the US not to interfere in our internal affairs is like asking past President Kenneth Kaunda to apologise for having fought against apartheid policy in South Africa.

Well done Senator Cardin. The UPND are treated by the government as if it is not Zambian. Thank you for helping us and please carry on the good work.

Emmanuel Chirumba
Emmanuel Chirumba
The case of president HH is obnoxious at the same time ambiguous so far so good let first of all the courts decide which way forward after hearing from both sides. So the Senator dhould stop encouraging some truancy in other country’ s internal affairs. Constitunally President Lungu can only have a say in this matter after court’s closure of the case. As far as the case is concern the Senator is off side. Mind you I am an indigenous Zambian I am equally concetn aboit the security of the country & not about greedy people &self centred. Kindly notify… Read more »

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