Journalist, anti corruption activist to be jailed as Amnesty reacts

Journalist, anti corruption activist to be jailed as Amnesty reacts

The Supreme Court will this Friday send to jail for 6 months anti corruption activist Gregory Chifire and Journalist Derick Sinjela for simply questioning corruption in the judiciary.

One of the nine judges who are persecuting Chifire and Sinjela told the Watchdog that Chief Justice Irene Mambilima and her deputy Mwawambwa have bulldozed their way to have the two jailed.

The judge explained that Bishop John Mambo who was accused of the same crime will be given a suspended sentence meaning he won’t go to jail. The judge explained that they fear to jail Bishop Mambo because the church might raise against them but the smaller fish can go rot in jail.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International has condemned the Zambian judiciary for persecuting Chifire.

In a statement issued today, Amnesty said the charges against Chifire are a mockery of justice and the trial was not a trial at all.

Below is the statement by Amnesty:

A Zambian human rights activist is facing jail simply for accusing the country’s judiciary of corruption, Amnesty International said today.

The contempt of court charges against Gregory Chifire are a total fabrication. They make a mockery of justice and must be dropped immediately

Gregory Chifire’s verdict and sentencing are due to be delivered on 23 November following a grossly unfair trial on four trumped-up contempt of court charges.

“This trial is an affront to the right to freedom of expression. Gregory Chifire’s only ‘crime’ has been to ask the Zambian judiciary to ensure accountability within its ranks,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa.

“The contempt of court charges against Gregory Chifire are a total fabrication. They make a mockery of justice and must be dropped immediately.”

The four contempt of court charges against Chifire, the director of the Southern Africa Network Against Corruption (SANAC), emanate from his questioning of a Supreme Court judgement handed down in March 2018 involving two large corporations.

The Zambian authorities should be supporting the free exercise of the right to freedom of expression, not suppressing it.

The case involved a local bank, Stanbic, referring a local company, Savenda, to a credit bureau for blacklisting on allegations that it defaulted on a loan repayment.

In a letter to Zambia’s chief justice, Gregory Chifire described the judgment as having “omitted very crucial evidence” that formed the basis for the awarding of damages to Savenda and asked for the judges suspected to be responsible to be investigated.

He was summoned to appear in court on 17 July and later faced an unfair trial. The hearing of his case was concluded on 19 September.

Gregory’s case smacks of censorship and victimization, designed to silence his activism.

“The Zambian authorities should be supporting the free exercise of the right to freedom of expression, not suppressing it. Gregory’s case smacks of censorship and victimization, designed to silence his activism work,” said Deprose Muchena.

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