The Civil Society Constitution Agenda (CiSCA) is gravely concerned with the continued detention of New Labour Party president, Fresher Siwale, by the Zambia Police Service in clear contravention of the constitution, rule of law and human rights instruments by the current regime.
The police’s continued incarceration of Mr. Siwale without presenting him before the courts on allegations that he defamed the republican President, Edgar Chagwa Lungu is against the provision of the Constitution. In Article 13, the Constitution demands that “any person arrested or detained shall be informed as soon as reasonably practicable of the reasons for his arrest or detention” and that any person who is arrested or detained and who is not released, shall be brought without undue delay before a court”.
CiSCA notes that Mr. Siwale was detained without being charged for three (3) days and after being charged in the fourth day, Mr. Siwale has spent close to seven (7) days without being brought before the courts as provided for in the country’s constitution, the supreme law.
With the foregoing, CiSCA finds appalling the failure by the Zambia Police to understand and respect the basic constitution provisions, first by keeping president Siwale for three days in detention without charge and later on after being charged, still failing to present him before court as the law established. This, in our view, is a clear violation of Article 13 (3) which demands thus: “if any person is arrested or detained upon reasonable suspicion of having committed, or being about to commit, a criminal offence under the law in force in Zambia is not tried within a reasonable time, then, without prejudice to any further proceedings that may be brought against him, he shall be released either unconditionally or upon reasonable conditions, including in particular such conditions as are reasonably necessary to ensure that he appears at a later date for trial or for proceedings preliminary to trial.”
In this regard, CiSCA demands that the police, therefore, fully respects the provisions of Article 13 (3) which provides for the release of any person suspected to have committed criminal offence who is not brought before court within reasonable time.
Bishop John H. Mambo
Chairperson – #CivilSocietyConstitutionAgenda #CiSCA