Detained Journalist Wilson Mpondamali who has been in police detention for the last five days yesterday collapsed in his cell at Kabwe Central Police and is now admitted to Kabwe General Hospital.
His lawyer Kabesha Mulilo and his wife confirmed that Mpondamali collapsed just after 18.00 hours in the cells after being moved from Mpima Prison to Kabwe Central Police.
Police have refused to release him inspite being allowed bail by the magistrates court.
Mr Mulilo said Mr Mpondamali who is in handcuffs and being guarded by police officers was admitted to ward 6 at the general hospital and was by Press time still being diagnosed by the doctor.
The lawyer narated that when his client failed to appear at the court, he drove to Mpima prison to take papers for his release, only to find that his client had been moved to Kabwe Central Police without his knowledge.
At at Kabwe Central police he was informed tha new charges against his client were bieng framed and that he would not be released.
Earlier his lawyer Mulilo was struggling to have Mr Mpondamali released following the bail granted to him by Kabwe Magistrates court.
Mr Mulilo described the continued incarceration of Mr Mpondamali as police brutality and wondered why media houses in the country had kept quiet when journalists were being harassed and victimized at the hands of the State.
“There is total confusion here at the Kabwe Magistrates’ court as the police have decided to continue holding Mr Mpondamali for reasons that can only be described as schemes to brutalize the journalist. As you are aware, Mr Mpondamali was given bail by the court on Friday but the police instead took him to Mpima Prison
“Today (Monday) we expected that he would be released but the police in their schemes have come up with other charges. They have now charged him with attempting to escape from lawful custody and malicious damage to government property,” he said.
Mr Mulilo said the court had summoned the police to explain why they had failed to bring Mr Mpondamali to court because according to the court, the journalist was on bail.
He explained that the police were supposed to bring Mr Mpondamali to court because his sureties were ready to sign bail. He said his client managed to sign for bail but could not be released because the state had slapped some new charges on him.
“We hope that he gets better. We are right now at the hospital, he collapsed after 18:00hours and doctors are still diagnosing him. He is expected to appear in court to take plea on the new charges but this will depend on his condition tomorrow (today).
“He is still in handcuffs and guarded by police officers even here at the hospital. We will go back to court in the morning (today) to facilitate for bail so that he could be released,” Mr Mulilo said. Mr Mpondamali was arrested last week in Kabwe on suspicion that he was corresponding with the online publication, Zambian Watchdog, which has since been shut down by government.
He has now been charged with more offences including attempting to escape from lawful custody and malicious damage to government property.
The new charges arise from an incident last Friday when Mpondamali struggled to stop the police from taking him to Mpima prison after he had been released on bail. Police have changed Mr Mpondamali’s charges in a scheme believed to be a ploy to continue keeping him in Mpima Prison where he is currently incarcerated.
But the police are reported to have vowed to keep the freelance journalist in jail for allegedly damaging the police vehicle that was taking him to prison. Mr Mpondamali who was arrested last week on Tuesday and initially charged with being in possession of restricted material and a stolen book from the Kabwe Council Library but by yesterday, the police other charges that would probably ensure the journalist continue languishing in prison.