CAROLINE KALOMBE, PRISCILLA CHIPULU, Lusaka
INCERCERATED United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema has turned to the High Court and Constitutional Court demanding monetary compensation for his arrest on a treason charge.
Hichilema and his co-accused persons also want to be allowed to apply for constitutional bail pending trial.
Hichilema, Hamaleka Hamuchinde, Hachinda Muleya, Laston Mulilanduba, Pretorius Haloba and Wallace Chakawa are charged with treason and have been appearing before the Magistrates’ Court pending committal to the High Court for trial.
Treason is triable by the High Court because it is a capital offence.
In the petition before the High Court, the six want the court to quash their arrest on grounds that there are no facts on which reasonable suspicion could have been formed of the petitioners to commit treason.
They also argued that since their arrest, they have not been given any reasons for their incarceration as required by law and that they have not been given adequate time and facilities to prepare their defence as required by law.
In the petition before the Constitutional Court, Hichilema and the five others want to be allowed to apply for bail pending trial.
According to the Zambian Constitution, any person charged with a capital offence such as treason, murder or aggravated robbery carrying a possible or mandatory capital punishment cannot be granted bail.
The application for bail for such offences cannot be entertained by the Subordinate Court, High Court or Supreme Court, nor can the accused person be released by any police officer.
Hichilema and five co-accused want the Constitutional Court to order the severing of the proviso to section 123 (1) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) which indicates the type of offences that qualify for bail.
They contend that the provisions in the CPC that bar the courts from granting bail to people accused of capital offences are inconsistent with the republican Constitution.
Hichilema and his co-accused also argue that the extent to which section 123 (1) of the Criminal Procedure Code bars the Supreme Court from entertaining such an application is also inconsistent with the Constitution.
Meanwhile, Hichilema and the five others are tomorrow expected to be committed to the High Court for trial.
This decision was arrived at after Hichilema’s lawyers met with Lusaka principal resident magistrate David Simusamba following their application for a notice to abridge time by bringing their treason case to any suitable date.