Friday, November 14, 2008

Father Charged With Sedition: Truth is no Defense

From the Watchdog:

Father Bwalya likely to be charged with sedition

By Lloyd Himaambo-Despite the riots that broke out early on Thursday in protest of the arrest of Catholic Priest, station manager for radio Ichengelo on the Copperbelt, the police will go ahead and charge the priest. The Watchdog has leant that Father Bwalya will be charged with sedition.

The Zambian penal code prohibits what it describes as sedition under section 57. Sedition in the code encompasses advocating for the desirability of overthrowing government, bringing into hatred or contempt or to excite disaffection against government and to raise discontent among the people of Zambia etc. The most critical aspect of sedition is that it does not recognize ‘truth’ as defense.

Frank Bwalya was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly inciting the public and police in the area say the Catholic priest has in the last few days been broadcasting messages that are likely to incite people.

Kitwe District Police Commanding Officer, Daniel Siame, told journalists that the 40 year old priest spent a night in custody in Kalulushi and will be charged after police record a warn and caution statement from him.

The police say that the priest has been broadcasting messages suggesting that the October 30 election was fraudulent.

Mr. Siame said Father Bwalya has also been heard through his broadcasts saying that the government is in office illegally.

They're charging a Catholic priest with sedition, a charge that doesn't recognize truth as a defense. So if by telling the truth you cause civil unrest that's grounds to be arrested for sedition. Interesting. By the way, I have no opinion on this; I'm cool with whatever Rupiah thinks.

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