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Efforts by UPND to have Ackson Sejani and three others senior party members freed from police custody yesterday flopped after high Judge Kenneth Mulife refused to allow lawyers representing the four to proceed with the harbeas corpus hearing in the absence of the state.

This in the matter, Sejani; Fines Malambo, Choma Mayor Javen Simuloka and Mazabuka Mayor Vincent Lilanda, through the lawyers former Registrar of Societies Clement Andeleki and Connelius Mweetwa from Muleza Mwiimbu and Company sought the court’s order to have the four brought before court. The four are being held by the police in connection with the alleged abduction of the Hatembo siblings Pheluna and Milton who have been missing for over two months.

In his ruling on the application to have the court proceed with the matter in the absence of a representative of the Attorney General, Judge Mulife dismissed the application saying the summons were not correctly served on the state. “I have considered the application from the applicant’s lawyer that I proceed with the matter in the absence of the state but I find that the summons were not served on the state in accordance with the procedure,” he said Earlier, the court was forced to adjourn the matter to afternoon after the UPND lawyers informed the court that the state had asked for time to facilitate the transportation of the applicants to court.

But after the matter resumed in the afternoon, lead lawyer for the applicants, Mr Andeleki informed the court that he had received a phone call from senior advocate, a Mr Simasiku informing him that state was not going to avail the applicants owning to logistical challenges. He said the legal team for the applicants was taken aback by the conduct of the state advocate owing to their lack of courtesy on their part.

Mr Andeleki prayed that the court could allow the matter to proceed because the matter before it was a very serious human rights issue upon which the court should determine expeditiously. He informed the court that Sejani and other three are in custody under very extreme conditions and the state had ample time to comply with the order of the court.

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