Henry Banda’s lawyer Robert Amsterdam claims that he has received correspondence from legal representatives of President Michael Sata threatening litigation and demanding compensation in response to public statements made by Amsterdam.
“President Sata’s crude efforts to silence and bully opponents with threats and intimidation will not work, and we would in fact welcome the
opportunity to lead a serious public debate on the unlawful conduct of this administration,” said Amsterdam. “As a public figure, I had no idea that President Sata was so sensitive to criticism, but given this government’s stance toward freedom of the press, it shouldn’t come as a surprise.”
He quoted the later as saying: “We have been retained by Mr. Michael Chilufya Sata, the current president of Zambia and of the Patriotic Front political party, to act for him in a matter concerning your defamation of him in the article in the Nation Newspaper edition published on 8th of May, 2012 (Vol. 2, Issue 175) entitled ‘Sata Shielding Crooks.’” The letter threatens to initiate civil proceedings unless the Daily Nation and Mr. Amsterdam retracted the article, issued a written apology, and paid damages of K500 million (approx. US$97,000.00).
The president’s threat toward Mr. Amsterdam comes on the heels of a request for Urgent Appeals submitted to the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders and the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers of the United Nations following threats and intimidation by Wynter Kabimba of the Patriotic Front party, who accused Mr. Amsterdam of a slew of unsubstantiated allegations for acting as legal counsel to the son of the former President Rupiah Banda.