ActionAid Zambia is saddened and disappointed by the continued unlawful detention of our Board Chairperson Mr. Partner Siabutuba who has been held in police custody since 10th March 2021 without charge.
We believe this matter borders on the Human Rights and fundamental freedoms of a prominent Zambian citizen Mr. Partner Siabutuba. The arrest was made following a statement and press briefing by Mr. Partner Siabutuba and the Director for Zitukule Consortium Mr. Nicholas Phiri calling for the protection of the lives of the Hatembo Family who are believed to be living in fear and their whereabouts are currently unknown.
As a human rights organization working towards fighting all forms of injustice, we strongly believe that this is contrary to the freedoms enshrined in the Zambian Constitution under Article 13 (3) which provides for the fundamental freedoms of all citizens from unlawful dentition. The constitution provides that;
“Any person who is arrested or detained -
(a) for the purpose of bringing him before a court in execution of an order of a court; or
(b) upon reasonable suspicion of his having committed, or being about to commit, a criminal offence under the law in force in Zambia; and who is not released, shall be brought without undue delay before a court; and if any person arrested or detained under paragraph (b) is not tried within a reasonable time, then, without prejudice to any further proceedings that may be brought against him, he shall be released either unconditionally or upon reasonable conditions, including in particular such conditions as are reasonably necessary to ensure that the appears at a later date for trial or for proceedings preliminary to trial.”
We, therefore, demand that the police immediately release our Board Chairperson or charge him and present him before a competent court following the provisions of the law and also provided for by Article 18(1) of the Zambian Constitution which states;
“If any person is charged with a criminal offence, then, unless the charge is withdrawn, the case shall be afforded a fair hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial court established by law.”
We stand in solidarity with Mr. Siabutuba and urge the observance of human rights and the rule of law with regard to his arrest and detention.
Nalucha Nganga Ziba,
Country Director, ActionAid Zambia