Boy, 8, spends night in police cell contrary to the law

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AN 8-year-old boy was reportedly detained overnight in a police cell after being involved in an alleged fight with another juvenile.

The incident, which took place in Lusaka’s Matero East neighborhood, has raised concerns about the treatment of minors within the criminal justice system.

According to Zambian law, children under the age of criminal liability cannot be detained for any criminal offense. This provision aims to protect young children and ensure their well-being. However, reports emerged that the child was held in custody despite his age.

Police spokesperson Rae Hamoonga confirmed the incident and informed the public that the child had been released unconditionally.

“The child has been released unconditionally,” Hamoonga said.

He said there will be investigations and police officers at the police station involved in the incident had been instructed to submit reports explaining their actions.

“The Child is now with the Matero officer in charge waiting to be reunited with the mother,” he stated.

He added that a child can not be detained for any criminal offence because he is not criminally liable that is why the boy was released unconditionally.

The shocking news first came to light when a concerned individual shared the information on the Facebook page Nikkel Zambia.

The post, which detailed the distressing situation faced by the boy and his family, quickly garnered attention, with many expressing concern at the alleged mistreatment by the police.

In the Facebook post, the individual stated, “My sister’s son was arrested yesterday in Lusaka Matero East, and he’s only 8 years old. And the girl he was fighting with is 12 years old. The police got him yesterday, and today they’ve refused to release him because they want us to pay them K1000. If we fail to pay, they are taking him to court, and the girl’s parents have withdrawn the case. They also refused to provide him with food.”

By Moses Makwaya

Kalemba July 12, 2023

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