Lungu promises to free jailed journalist Sinjela

Lungu promises to free jailed journalist Sinjela

👉🏾 Sinjela still has 7 more months to serve in jail

President Edgar Lungu has promised to consider pardoning imprisoned journalist Derick Sinjela.

Sinjela is languishing in prison for writing about corruption in the judiciary.

At a press conference on Friday, President Edgar Lungu promised to consider Sinjela’s plight, He revealed that he had Sinjela’s file the other day (when considering prisoners to be pardoned during Independence Day). But he did not go into details on what happened after looking after the jailed journalist’s file.

The Watchdog though understands that President Lungu’s legal advisor Lukangaba removed the file from the president’s desk. Lukangaba is Eric Silwamba’s blue eyed boy at State House.

In December 2018, the Supreme Court slapped an 18-month jail sentence on Sinjela for contempt of court after he accused the judiciary of corruption.

This means that Sinjela May be released in June  2020. Journalists present at the press conference missed president Lungu that Sinjela will be freed next month prompting Lungu to joke that he is out of prison.

Derrick Sinjela, editor of the Rainbow Newspaper, questioned one of the court’s rulings earlier when it overturned a lower court’s decision involving two large corporations – Stanbic commercial bank and Savenda Management Services.

In an article he published between April and May 2018 entitled “Zambian supreme court verdict in the Savenda and Stabic case questionable”, Sinjela accused the judges of corruption, suggesting among other things that they had received bribes from Stanbic to reverse the lower court ruling.

In the initial ruling, the High Court found that the bank had wrongly referred Savenda for defaulting on a bank loan.

The Committee to Protect Journalists condemned the jailing of Sinjela.

“The decision by the Supreme Court is disproportional and sends a very grave message that journalists, and Zambians in general, cannot criticize the judiciary without risking their liberty,” said CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Angela Quintal in New York. “A critical press is crucial for accountability and transparency within the judiciary.”

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