Zambia: Opp. leader pleads not guilty of treason

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LUSAKA, Zambia

Hakainde Hichilema was jailed on April 10 after being accused of conspiring to overthrow government

Zambia’s jailed main opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema and his five co-accused pleaded not guilty on Monday to treason charges brought against them in April.

The president of the United Party for National Development has been in jail for more than 125 days after he was arrested and charged with treason following a night raid on his home on April 10 after being accused of conspiring with his co-accused and some unknown people to overthrow the government.

Hichilema is jointly charged with Hamaleka Hamusonde, Pretorious Haloba, Muleya Hachinda, Lastone Mulilanduba and Wallace Chakawa.

“Since the accused deny the charge, the court will enter a plea of not guilty,” Lusaka High Court Judge Mulenga Chanda told the accused who took plea on Monday morning.

Justice Chanda adjourned the matter to Wednesday, adding the accused would remain in custody until the final verdict is announced.

Since the arrest and charge of Hichilema, the political situation in Zambia remains tense with some acts of sabotage, including mysterious fires taking place in some parts of the country forcing the Zambian president to declare a state of emergency.

Hichilema had disputed the Aug.11, 2016 general election where President Edgar Lungu was declared victorious.

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