Zambia’s Supreme Court has backed death sentences passed on 44 soldiers involved in a foiled 1997 coup attempt. The court ruling however spared 10 others from the death sentence. The 54 soldiers were charged with forming a private army and attempting to overthrow the former head of state, Frederick Chiluba. They were also found guilty of breaking into an arms depot, assaulting army officers and seizing state broadcasting studios to announce the takeover. The rulings were made by five judges headed by Zambia’s Chief Justice Ernest Sakala. The soldiers were found guilty of treason by the High Court and were sentenced to death by hanging, but they immediately appealed to the Supreme Court. In their appeal against the ruling, the soldiers argued that they were caught up in the coup unintentionally. Full Story
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