FIVE suspects who have remained remanded in custody for 10 years have petitioned the Lusaka High Court to order for their immediate release from Lusaka Central Prison.
This is contained in an application for Habeas Corpus requesting the High Court to order the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to take their cases before court for trial on various charges against them.
According to an affidavit filed by one of the petitioners, Enock Tembo, he explained that the five have remained incarcerated without trial.
“I am competent to swear to this affidavit, that we were arrested on different dates between 4th December 2006 and 19th February 2014 whereupon we were charged with offences of aggravated robbery and murder.
“That following our arrest, we were caused to appear in the Subordinate Court for mention and committed to the High court for trial but our committal to the High Court trial has either not been commenced or concluded by the respondent (NPA),” he said.
The five petitioners have pleaded with the Court to order that their detention was in violation of their human rights as the National Prosecution Authority had failed, delayed or refused to present them for trial at the High Court.
They have argued that despite being committed to the High Court, the five petitioners have been kept in detention by the State and have never appeared before the court for trial for the various offences they were charged with since their arrests.
“That on various dates between 2nd November 1994 and 19th February 2014, your petitioners were arrested and detained for various offences ranging from aggravated robbery to murder as indicated: Enock Tembo (04.12.2006, aggravated robbery), Samson Nkhoma (11.09.2006, aggravated robbery) Evans Kalota (11.09.2006,aggravated robbery) Felix Chirwa (19.02.2014, aggravated robbery), and Anthony Chongo (18.12.2012, murder).
“That your humble petitioners appeared for mention before the Honourable Subordinate Court of the Lusaka District for the offences afforestated and were committed to the High Court of Zambia for trial owing to the fact that the Subordinate Court Magistrates do not have authority to try the offences with which they stood charged with,” reads the petition.
The suspects have requested the court for damages owing to mental distress and emotional stress suffered during their incarceration.