Zambia: Activist Defends Right to Freedom of Expression

Salc : Staff Writer

Paul Kasonkomona is a respected HIV activist and National Coordinator of Engender Rights-Zambia. On 7 April 2013, Kasonkomona was arrested outside MuviTV station after he appeared on a television programme. As a guest on the programme Kasonkomona argued that the rights of sexual minorities, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons (LGBT) and sex workers, should be recognised in order to effectively address the HIV epidemic. Kasonkomona was eventually released on bail on 11 April 2013 after his lawyers filed a civil case for false imprisonment. Kasonkomona challenged the constitutionality of his arrest, but this application was unsuccessful in the High Court.

Kasonkomona’s criminal trial in the Lusaka Magistrates Court commenced on 16 October 2013. On 17 December 2013 the State closed its case. On 25 February 2014, Magistrate Lameck Ng’ambi held that the State has failed to present a sufficient case for the defence to answer resulting in the acquittal of Kasonkomona. The State appealed this ruling to the High Court. On 15 May 2015, Justice Mulongoti confirmed the acquittal of Kasonkomona and ruled that the State had not made out a case against Kasonkomona.

Kasonkomona is represented by Sunday Nkonde SC from SBN Legal Practitioners with assistance from SALC.

Constitutional Application

Constitutional Application

Prosecution’s Submission in Response to Constitutional Application

Kasonkomona’s Reply to Prosecution

Magistrate’s Ruling on Constitutional Application

High Court ruling

Constitutional Petition

Magistrates Court

Kasonkomona’s submissions on No case to answer

Final Ruling

High Court

High Court judgment