13 UNZA students acquitted

Thirteen University of Zambia (UNZA) students who were arrested for idle and disorderly conduct on December 14, 2013 were yesterday acquitted by the Lusaka Magistrates’ Courts for lack of evidence.

Magistrate Irene Washimanga acquitted Theresa Mwale and 12 others because state witnesses failed to provide satisfactory evidence against the students.

She said the evidence by the arresting officer was not enough for the court to convict the students.

Magistrate Washimanga said that the arresting officer only found the road blocked and did not did not know whether the road was blocked by the students or not.

She said the police officer only decided to arrest the students because he found them near the road side.

She explained that if there was a riot at the campus  which could have caused a heavy traffic congestion, other officers could have been called to the scene.

But the arresting officer did not even call anyone but only found the road blocked on his way to town.

She acquitted the students and asked them to freely go back to campus and continue with their studies.

It was alleged that the students on December 14 last year staged a protest demanding the release of their fellow students who had been arrested by police.

The students staged a protest to press the university management to allow them to remain at the campus over the festive holiday an action which resulted in the arrest of some of students.

The students rushed to the Great East Road and set tyres on fire and blocked the road causing a heavy traffic jam.The Great East Road was closed for about an hour before the Police in riot gear stopped the students’ protest by firing tear gas.