Zambia opposition leader Hichilema spirited away to maximum security jail

Hichilema was arrested in April for allegedly failing to give way to President Edgar Lungu's motorcade.

The treason case against the wealthy self-made businessman who turned 55 on Sunday comes after Hichilema made a fifth unsuccessful bid for the presidency last year.

The treason case against the wealthy self-made businessman who turned 55 on Sunday comes after Hichilema made a fifth unsuccessful bid for the presidency last year.

Zambia’s opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema, facing treason charges, said Friday he had been moved from a prison in the capital Lusaka to a maximum security jail in a small town.

Hichilema was arrested in April for allegedly failing to give way to President Edgar Lungu’s motorcade and has so far been held in detention for two months.

A magistrate court on Thursday ruled that he should face trial for treason in the High Court, dismissing requests by his lawyers to throw out the charge.

READ MORE: Treason season in Southern Africa

“We can confirm that we have been moved to Mukobeko Maximum Prison in Kabwe. We arrived a few minutes ago,” he said in a Facebook post.

“We don’t know what is happening but we are not bothered by processes,” he added.

Armed police officers at the Lusaka prison had earlier bundled Hichilema and five co-accused into a van and drove them to the city airport, according to his lawyer Jack Mwiimbu.

Mwiimbu described his transfer to Kabwe, 150 kilometres north of Lusaka, as illegal.

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“There was a court order that they should be at Lusaka prison but they have gone against it. He was forcibly removed from Lusaka prison,” Mwiimbu told reporters outside Lusaka Central prison where Hichilema had been detained since April 11.

The treason case against the wealthy self-made businessman who turned 55 on Sunday comes after Hichilema made a fifth unsuccessful bid for the presidency last year.

READ MORE: Zambian opposition leaders detained in ‘filthy, unimaginable’ conditions

He refused to recognise Lungu as president and has challenged the narrow poll defeat in court.

Home Affairs minister Stephen Kampyongo did not answer his phone when called for a comment.  

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