Home Affairs Minister Kennedy Sakeni has declared that international lawyer Robert Amsterdam is not welcome into Zambia.
Although the High Commission of the United Kingdom had granted Amsterdam a tourist visa to enter the country, the Home Affairs Minister said that the ruling party would not allow him to enter – despite the fact that Mr. Amsterdam has broken no laws.
Amsterdam serves as legal counsel to the former President Rupiah Banda and his son Henry Banda, the latter of whom has been accused by the government of a variety of deeds, which his lawyers describe as politically motivated.
“His name is one of those that are talking about Zambia’s internal politics. So how can he be given a visa as a tourist?” said Sakeni, commenting that as minister in charge of “internal security,” he could not allow Amsterdam into the country. “In fact let me tell you that from the word go, he is not welcome. We do not need him as tourist. Let him go and tour other countries. That is the position. We can’t allow a foreigner to come and start engaging in our internal affairs. He should forget about that visa.”
As a well known international lawyer, Mr. Amsterdam has represented a number of contentious political cases – including the human rights hero Dr. Chee Soon Juan of Singapore. When Mr. Amsterdam attempted to visit his client in May, the Singaporean authorities denied him entry – prompting a statement from Amnesty International in his defense.