Phones, UPND supporters banned from HH trial.

As earlier reported by the Zambian Watchdog, the PF in collusion with the Judiciary and the Zambia Police will accredit people to attend UPND Leader Hakainde Hichilema’s trial in the Lusaka High Court. According to a statement released by the Judiciary Public Relations Officer a Mrs. Chisambisha, apart from accrediting Journalists, for the first time lawyers and observers will also need to accredit themselves. Mobile Phones and
Tablets have also been banned from the court room. Nowdays it is common for Journalists and Lawyers to use tablets in court. The Judiciary spokesperson has also banned UPND supporters from going to court.
Further a known PF cadre Charles Kafunda who is Chief Registrar will be responsible for accreditation. Last week we reported that the PF wanted to limit media coverage of the treason trial because some people in government had realised that the incaceration of HH and his co accused was raising his profile.
We detailed that two committees had been formed to that effect. As usual gullible people called us names. On the media restrictions, we believe this will be the ideal time for the Helen Mwale blind folded MISA board to prove to critics that they are not on State House payroll.

This is typical of how the PF have manipulated the judiciary as this is all against the law. Suffice it to say that under the constitution, especially under Article 18, an accused person has a right to retain counsel of his/her choice. If 100 lawyers are retained by accused persons, it is the duty of the Judiciary to facilitate the attendance of counsel and not to constrict the numbers by issuing limited accreditation cards. The Judiciary is being complicit in attempting to violate and undermine the rights of the accused persons. Their actions are unacceptable and should not and will not be tolerated!

Further, in this day and age, people cannot be told not to enter court without iPads, laptops etc! These are the tools that lawyers use in court. They stopped using pens a long time ago! They can’t be told not to use modern gadgets. From who is the Judiciary taking instructions?

It is clear that the fear of whomever the Judiciary is taking instructions from is the real time reporting of events in court by journalists. It is clear that the forces instructing the Judiciary want this to be a “secret trial”! These draconian measures do not cast the Judiciary in good light. It appears there is a hidden executive hand dictating these unreasonable and draconian measures to them!

Further, the public cannot be stopped from accessing a court of law during criminal trial. Court is supposed to be held in the open. If space is unavailable, nothing stops the trial from being televised live on radio and television, including social media because of the public interest that it has generated.

The state have persecuted, abused, humiliated Hakainde Hichilema and his co-accused and now, working with the Judiciary, they want to restrict his defence team, gag the media and keep away the public from court and conduct a “secret trial”! Sorry this Judicial anarchy and impudence is unacceptable and won’t be tolerated !!

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