Promoting Human Rights & Rule of Law in South Africa
SALC IN THE NEWS: TWO FOREIGN NGOs APPEAL TO UN AND AFRICAN COMMISSION TO INTERVENE IN IMPRISONED JOURNALIST PONDAMALI AS POLICE SLAP ADDITION CHARGES ON ANOTHER JOURNALIST
30 July, 2013
29 July 2013
The Media Legal Defence Initiative (MLDI) and the Southern African Litigation Center have petitioned the United Nations and African Commission special rapporteurs on freedom of expression for their urgent intervention in the case of Zambian journalist Wilson Pondamali.
Wilson Pondamali is an investigative journalist who was arrested on 16 July 2013 and charged with possession of military pamphlets. While he was granted bail, Zambian police continued to hold him in Mpima Remand Prison in Kabwe, claiming that he has attempted to escape from lawful custody. He has since also been charged with causing damage to government property – they claimed Mr Pondamali damaged a police car door handle. On 22 July, he collapsed in his police cell and was admitted to hospital where he is currently being treated for pneumonia while under tight police custody, handcuffed to his hospital bed.
MLDI and SALC believe that the true reason for his arrest is a suspicion that Mr Pondamali has links with the independent news website, Zambian Watchdog. The website, which offers independent news and is often critical of the Zambian government, frequently suffers denial of service attacks, making it inaccessible to users in Zambia.
Two other journalists, Thomas Zyambo and Clayson Hamasaka, were arrested on 9 July 2013 on similar suspicions. Mr Zyambo was charged with sedition and was due to appear in court on Friday 26 July 2013. Mr Hamasaka has been questioned on grounds of suspicion of sedition twice so far, but has not yet been charged. Equipment belonging to the three journalists – including laptops, mobile phones and other possessions – has been confiscated.
MLDI and SALC have petitioned the African Union and UN special rapporteurs to declare that Mr Pondamali’s continued detention violates his right to freedom of expression and liberty, and secure his immediate release.
Pondamali’s wife has demanded that the police should release her husband because he is sick and the polce do not have a real charge for him.
MISA Zambia chapter chairperson Nalumino Nalumno in Lusaka during the MISA Annual General Meeting held over the weekend demanded that the police must release Pondamali immedately because his arrest was politically motivated.
Catholic Media Services director Father Paul Samasumo said the PF government should stop hacking online media because this is the kind of media for the future.Samasuma said the arrest of online media journalists was a threat to the development of the media in Zambia.
Meanwhile Pondamali was expected to be released from hospital today but Doctors have advised that he could be released tomorrow.
Clayson Hamasaka was this afternoon charged with possession of obscene materials. Police claimed they found porn on his laptop which they have had for over two weeks as part of their investigations. Hamasaka is currently detained as his lawyers are trying to secure a police bond for him.
Thomas Zyambo who was also summonded today has had his bond extended and he will appear in court next week Tuesday. Officers asked him to take down some fresh notes to compare with those notes they confiscated after searching his house but he refused to comply.
Receive latest news from SALC
Latest Blog Posts
- Removing legal barriers to treatment: Legal training on health and human rights in Africa
- NEWS RELEASE: Court Grants an Order Declaring that a Widow was the Sole Beneficiary of a Farm in Contrast to the Master of the High Court’s Decision to Grant the Widow a Child’s Share of the Estate.
- NEWS RELEASE: Consortium challenges erroneous grant of refugee status to alleged war criminal
- SALC COMMEMORATES DAY OF THE AFRICAN CHILD
- COURT DIARY: Mareka and 22 Others v the Commander of the Lesotho Defence Force and Others
- Submission to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights Regarding the Government of Namibia’s 6th Periodic Report
- UPR Pre-Session on Swaziland
- SALC ATTENDS THE 116th HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE SESSION FOR THE CONSIDERATION OF NAMIBIA’S STATE REPORT
- SALC Highlights Human Rights Concerns in Angola at the African Commission
- CONFIDENTIALITY UNDER THE REFUGEES ACT- A SHIELD FOR SUSPECTED PERPETRATORS OF GRAVE CRIMES
- UNDERSTANDING THE ZIMBABWE TORTURE CASE
- SUPREME COURT OF APPEAL JUDGMENT IN ZIMBABWE TORTURE CASE: A VICTORY FOR LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL JUSTICE
- SALC LETTER TO SOUTH AFRICAN GOVERNMENT- SUPPORTING THE FIGHT AGAINST IMPUNITY AND ENCOURAGING INTERNATIONAL ACCOUNTABILITY
- SALC IN THE NEWS: SOUTH AFRICA CAUSES BLUSHES IN HANDLING OF POLICY ON SYRIA