Response to Government of Zambia’s Harassment and Intimidation of Counsel to Henry Banda

Statement from Amsterdam & Peroff LLP
14 April 2012

In an article published on 14 April 2012 in the Post Newspaper of Zambia, Wynter Kabimba, Secretary General of the ruling Patriotic Front party, makes several defamatory and threatening comments with respect toward Mr. Robert Amsterdam, international lawyer to Mr. Henry Banda.

Specifically, Mr. Kabimba’s denunciation of Robert Amsterdam alleges that by performing his job as a lawyer for Henry Banda, he is somehow participating in a “criminal syndicate,” despite a total absence of substance to his claim.

Mr. Kabimba’s threats were preceded by comments made to the Post on 13 April 2012 by Government Spokesman Fackson Shamenda vaguely alleging “money laundering” and other baseless accusations of criminal activity concerning Mr. Banda’s retention of defense. These comments from Kabimba and Shamenda toward Robert Amsterdam are defamatory in nature and in violation of Henry Banda’s right to a defense. (…)

Speaking from Washington DC, Mr. Amsterdam responded to the harassment by Mr. Kabimba and other members of the ruling party:

“The regrettable choice on behalf of the ruling Patriotic Front party and officials of the Zambian government to threaten and harass defense counsel should stand as a defining illustration of how the Henry Banda case is being handled: arbitrary, without grounds, in violation of due process and international norms, and driven by political motivation,” Amsterdam said. “By seeking to intimidate lawyers with patently absurd claims, aiming to prevent them from defending clients, the Zambian government is unlawfully violating Mr. Banda’s right to counsel.”