LUSAKA Lawyer Makebi Zulu says he doesn’t know where his client, Shebby Chilekwa, has been taken by the police.
And Police spokesperson Rae Hamoonga says they cannot disclose where Chilekwa is being taken because it is part of their investigations.
In a video, Chilekwa was seen being taken to a car by two men plain clothed police officers.
In an interview, Zulu said he was scheduled to meet the Attorney General over the matter today.
“We don’t know where he is being taken to but what we hear is that they are whisking him to Kaoma but we dare not speculate. We are just from seeing the Judge. We had a matter scheduled for 16:00, the Attorney General did not come through. So, the matter has been rescheduled for 08:00 tomorrow we are proceeding to see the Attorney General and bring before him the urgency of this matter. As you may have seen, he was being manhandled by the police, they have made sure that we have no access to him,” Zulu said.
“We were not allowed to talk to him. They told us that they were taking him to headquarters and we would meet in room 45. But after we got to the headquarters, they only changed vehicles and put him onto another vehicle. As I am talking to you, I don’t know where he is, it is possible that they might be taking him out.”
He said the police did not want the injuries Chilekwa had suffered to be made public.
“I think the embarrassment on the part of the police, they don’t want the injuries that he has suffered to be made public and the knowledge that we were going to get an order at 16:00 for him to be attended to medically has obviously taken them off balance. Hence we are inclined to believe the fact that they want to take him to Kaoma because they want him to be inaccessible. But what they ought to know is once the order is given, wherever they may be hiding or putting him, they have to come through and comply with the court order,” said Zulu.
“This is a clear violation of human rights. He is entitled to representation by counsel, he is not being given access to counsel. He is being kept away from even his own family. His wife tried to access him and someone just sent me a recording where the wife was asking where they were taking him and they said ‘we did you a favour, we gave you access’ and nothing more than that.”
And in an interview, Hamoonga said police would issue a statement when they were done with investigations.
“That is part of our investigations, we can’t start revealing our investigations because we will be defeating the whole purpose of investigations. We can’t tell you that we are taking him this side, no. We will give you a statement after we are done with investigations because we will be defeating the whole purpose of investigations. If we start plotting our investigations in the media, then what are we doing? Then we will not apprehend anybody. When we are done with investigations, definitely the public will be made aware. We are acting on behalf of the public so there is nothing that we are hiding,” Hamoonga said.
Asked if Zulu, was denied access to see Chilekwa, Hamoonga said it was not true.
“It is not true. Is it not yesterday when he was telling you whatever he was alleging? Where did he get that information from? And can’t you ask him that this person (Raphael) Nakacinda was saying he is gasping for breath, is that a person who is gasping for breath? You saw how he was resisting to be put in a motor vehicle. Like you have heard from other media houses, it is not true that Mr Chilekwa is grasping for breath because we do not have facilities for oxygen. So, if somebody is unwell, we will take him for medical attention,” said Hamoonga.
“Then as regards relating to issues of torture, yesterday we did give access to the Human Rights Commission personnel that came to check on him. So, we well wait for the HRC to give a report on that allegation of torture because you know that there are institutions that are mandated to comment on allegations of torture.
But when contacted, HRC chairperson Mudford Mwandenga said his officers were still at the police station and he was yet to get a report.