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Leigh Day lawyer arrested in Zambia whilst meeting clients

Lawyer from the international group claims team arrested in Zambia as he met with four communities bringing claims against Vedanta Resources plc and their subsidiary Konkola Copper Mines

Zambia

12 January 2017

A lawyer from the international group claims team at Leigh Day was arrested in Zambia as he met with four communities bringing claims against Vedanta Resources plc and their subsidiary Konkola Copper Mines.

Oliver Holland a lawyer from Leigh Day was in Zambia to meet with the communities to discuss their claims which relate to alleged pollution from the copper mine in Chingola which they claim is causing damage to farming land and water sources of our clients.

Mr Holland was meeting with Leigh Day’s clients in their communities to update them on the case when he was arrested for holding a public meeting.

He was arrested under the Public Order Act, stemming from colonial times, which states that holding a meeting of more than three people requires that a police permit must be obtained.

It is understood that the law is normally only used during election times by political parties.

Mr Holland was held without charge in the police cells for four hours without access to a lawyer, food or water.

According to Leigh Day this was an ‘excessive response’ to the eventual charge of ‘conduct likely to cause a breach of peace’ which is a misdemeanour, not a criminal offence, which resulted in Mr Holland paying a ZMK50 ($5) fine.

According to Mr Holland the initial arresting police officers involved were driving a vehicle displaying the Konkola Copper Mines logo.

Mr Holland said: “We will be writing immediately to KCM’s lawyers to obtain a full explanation as to their seeming involvement into my arrest.

“We will be seeking assurances both from the Defendants and from the Zambian government that we will not be prevented from meeting our clients in the future.

“The ability for clients to meet with their lawyers is essential in their pursuit of justice and is a vital element of any fair and open society.”

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