Johannesburg, April 25, 2017–The unconditional release of Zambian journalist Chanda Chimba is a welcome end to the injustice he has suffered, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Chimba, who has advanced prostate cancer, was released on April 21 following a pardon on humanitarian grounds from Zambian President Edgar Lungu, Zambian media reported and Chimba’s lawyer, Charles Lisita, told CPJ today.
“We celebrate Chanda Chimba’s release, and we urge President Lungu to create an environment for a free press to flourish in Zambia,” CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Angela Quintal said.
A court on November 29, 2016, sentenced Chimba to two years in prison on charges of failing to register his production company and two newspapers and of possession of property suspected to be proceeds of a crime, the Lusaka Times reported at the time. Chimba, who had produced a pair of documentaries critical of a politician, was the only journalist jailed in southern Africa on December 1, 2016, when CPJ last conducted its global prison census. CPJ privately petitioned the Zambian government to release him.