ACTION ALERT UP-DATE - ZAMBIA
FEBRUARY 6, 1996
POST TRIO CHARGED, DENIED BAIL
Police in Zambia have formerly charged The Post's Managing Director Fred
M'membe, newspaper Editors, Bright Mwape and Masautso Phiri under the
"Official Secrets Act" and "Possession of Prohibited Publications Act" at
the Police headquarters in Lusaka, Sakwiwa Sikota, told MISA today February
Sikota, who is defence lawyer for the trio, says the state is claiming that
the three received classified information on the constitution which they
"illegally published in the Monday February 5 edition" in violation of
"Official Secrets Act." Says Sikota: "The second charge was based on
possession of prohibited material, referring to The Post's February 5
edition which was banned by President Frederick Chiluba."
Sikota further reported that the three have been refused bail. "Police says
that the three accused cannot be granted bail because the state has not
completed its investigations into their case." The three were not present
during bail application. Sikota, however, argues that the police action to
arrest persons before they (police) finished investigations was "illegal".
Sikota also says the police officers are planning to confiscate the
newspaper's computers to "halt any further publication of The Post."
Sikota further said that the three accused were in good health by afternoon
February 6 but, "they complained of poor prison conditions in which they
were confined." He said that another bail application has since been filed
through for Wednesday February 7.
On Monday February 5, President Chiluba banned The Post's February 5
edition and armed and plain clothed police, working under instructions from
President Chiluba, entered The Post's premises and searched the offices.
Later, police arrested the paper's director and its two editors.
Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA)
Private Bag 13386
Tel. +264 61 232975, Fax. 248016
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