Zambia Reports (Lusaka)

6 February 2013

Zambia: Hichilema Files Petition to Quash Defamation Charges

United Party for National Developmet (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema has filed for a petition to quash his charges in the magistrate's court arguing it is an attempt to restrict his freedom of expression.

Hichilema is charged with publication of false information when he announced that the PF had recruited youths that it had sent to Sudan to train as militias.

According to the petition, he has sued the Attorney General as the first respondent and the Director of Public Prosecutions as second respondent.

Hichilema has asked the court to quash his prosecution as it infringes on his fundamental human rights.

He has argued that the decision to charge him for his statement was undemocratic and unconstitutional.

Hichilema has stated that the decision to arrest him over the statement was excessive and unconstitutional and that it should be quashed.

The UPND leader contends that as a politician, he was entitled to make a comment on a matter of public interest even in the most venomous and disparaging manner on the conduct of the ruling authority.

Hichilema has also asked the High Court to stay the prosecution of the matter in the magistrate's court until the determination of his petition is done.

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