UPDATE 1-Zambian opposition leader's lawyers ask court to throw out treason case

Wed Apr 19, 2017 2:14pm GMT

* Opposition leader charged with plot to overthrow govt

* Court ruling on treason to be issued later

* Hichilema on bail after sedition charge in October (Adds Hichilema's party, Lungu quotes)

By Chris Mfula

LUSAKA, April 19 (Reuters) - Lawyers for a Zambian opposition party leader accused of trying to overthrow the government asked a court on Wednesday to throw out the case, saying the state charges were vague and ambiguous.

Hakainde Hichilema, the United Party for National Development (UPND) leader, was arrested last week in a police raid on his home.

He was initially accused of treason on the grounds that he had refused to give way to President Edgar Lungu's motorcade as it passed through Mongu, a town west of the capital Lusaka.

On Tuesday, Hichilema was charged in court with plotting with other people between Oct. 10 last year and April 8 this year to overthrow the government by unlawful means.

The arrest has raised political tension in Zambia. The Southern African country has traditionally been relatively stable but relations between the government and opposition have been fraught since last August, when Lungu's Patriotic Front (PF) beat the UPND in a presidential election marred by violence.   Continued...

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