Zambian opposition leader's treason trial to resume Wednesday

Amnesty International says treason charges against Hichilema have been trumped up.

FILE: Main Zambian opposition party United Party for National Development presidential candidate Hakainde Hichilema. Picture: AFP.

PRETORIA - Zambia's opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema’s treason trial starts in Lusaka on Wednesday, four months after being jailed for failing to make way for President Edgar Lungu’s motorcade.

Foreign journalists were barred when Hichilema and five others appeared in court on Monday to plead not guilty.

Amnesty International says treason charges against Hichilema for allegedly putting President Lungu’s life in danger and later of planning to overthrow the state have been trumped up.

Hichilema, who lost a neck-and-neck presidential race against Lungu a year ago, appeared in good health during his brief appearance on Monday.

Reports that he would be released have been at best premature.

Lawyers persist that he will be released when the weakness of the state’s case becomes apparent.