The legal team representing Henry Banda has filed two letters with several United Nations Special Rapporteurs requesting Urgent Appeals be addressed to the Government of Zambia regarding politically motivated accusations against Mr. Banda and harassment and threats against his legal counsel, Robert Amsterdam.
“These documents are the first of many appeals we are preparing before international bodies to expose the unlawful conduct of the Zambian
government in the Henry Banda matter, and highlight the ongoing abuses of power by the ruling party to attack and weaken the political opposition,”said Mr. Amsterdam.
“The allegations reported in the media against Mr.Banda are completely without grounds, and the fact that the government has publicly lied concerning his whereabouts and has refused to respond to our questions should raise obvious concerns.”
The request for Urgent Appeals concerning Zambia’s unlawful treatment of Mr. Banda was addressed to the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association, the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, and the Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions.
A separate request for Urgent Appeals was also sent to the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders and the Special
Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers on behalf of Mr.Amsterdam in response to various threats, harassment, and defamation by government and party officials in the media, which is alleged as a violation of Mr. Banda’s right to counsel.
According to the letter, “Mr. Banda’s imminently threatened detention,extradition and prosecution would accordingly violate his rights under
Article 9.1 (right to liberty and freedom from arbitrary detention),Article 19 (freedom of opinion and expression), Article 22 (freedom of
association) and Article 25 (a) (right to take part in the conduct of public affairs) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights, to which Zambia has been a State Party since 1984, among other international instruments guaranteeing these rights.”
The letter continues, “The threats and intimidation against his lawyer and human rights defender, Robert Amsterdam, violate Principle 16 of the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, and Articles 9.3(c) and 12.2 of the United Nations Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals,Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.”