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Zambian opposition leader Chishimba released

By AFP   |   10 August 2017   |   1:09 pm  

(FILES) This file photo taken on August 11, 2016 shows Zambia’s opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema leaving after voting in the general elections in Lusaka. Armed police on April 11, 2017 held Hichilema after raiding his house overnight, an AFP correspondent witnessed. No official reason was given for the arrest, but Hichilema is suspected of having obstructed President’s motorcade when he was travelling to the Western province for a traditional ceremony at the weekend. / AFP PHOTO / GIANLUIGI GUERCIA

Zambian police on Thursday released the leader of a small opposition party who is a fierce critic of President Edgar Lungu after one week in detention, party officials said.

Savior Chishimba, leader of the United Progressive Party (UPP), was detained by plain-clothed police, triggering further accusations that Lungu was overseeing a crackdown on dissent.

“Our party president has been released unconditionally, meaning he will not go to court,” Mbaita Musendeka, the party secretary general, told AFP.

“The police had claimed he defamed the president but they have decided to discontinue the matter.”

Hakainde Hichilema, leader of the main opposition United Party for National Development (UPND), has been in jail since April and is due to appear in court on treason charges on Monday.

He was arrested after his convoy allegedly refused to give way to the presidential motorcade.

Lungu invoked emergency powers last month, increasing police powers of arrest and detention, and blaming opposition parties for a string of arson attacks.

Chishimba was picked up shortly after he appeared in a live interview at a private television channel’s studios in Lusaka.



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