Politics

Police Accused of Planting Pornography on Journalist’s Computer

After failing to link former Evelyn Hone College journalism professor Clayson Hamasaka to a sedition charge, the Zambia Police planted evidence of obscene materials on his seized laptop in order to bring a case against him, a source tells Zambia Reports.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the source, who maintains impeccable ties to senior police officials in Lusaka, says that officers were acting under heavy political pressure to bring a charge against Mr. Hamasaka, who is alleged to participate in the government-critical online newspaper Zambian Watchdog.

Hamasaka was originally arrested in the early morning of July 9 following a police raid on his house, claiming they were looking for drugs and arms. He was later released on bail while another journalist arrested that evening, Thomas Zgambo, was held for four days before being charged with sedition.

According to the source, Zambia’s law enforcement agencies were able to retain possession of Mr. Hamasaka’s laptop computer and smartphone for more than two weeks, allowing them the opportunity to plant the pornographic materials sufficient for a charge on possession of obscene materials.

“Actually this case has been a challenge, so now we have just been told to plant the evidence,” the source tells Zambia Reports. “With his computer in our possession, it was very easy to put the evidence on the hard drive.”

The source indicated that the police were unable to come up with any evidence that would hold up the sedition charge against the journalist in court.

“We tried going over everything but nothing to link him to sedition because there is just normal journalism material. Now pornography is easy to plant.”

So far three journalists have been arrested on suspected links with online website Zambian Watchdog, with one, Wilson Mpondamali, continuing to be held in detention despite his deteriorating health and absence of legal authority to jail him without charges.

Last year, Mr. Hamasaka was fired without explanation from his position as a lecturer at Evelyn Hone College following an appearance at the college radio station by opposition politician Hakainde Hichilema. Hamasaka’s wife has also been dismissed from her job at the municipal utility company.

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