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British lawyer briefly detained in Zambia's copper region

Posted January 12

— A British law firm says one of its lawyers was arrested and held for hours in Zambia after meeting residents who filed complaints about alleged pollution from a copper mine.

The Leigh Day firm said Thursday that lawyer Oliver Holland was in the southern African nation to meet communities who say the mine in Chingola is damaging farmland and water sources.

Holland was held without charge for four hours and did not have access to a lawyer, food or water, Leigh Day said. It said he was charged with "conduct likely to cause a breach of peace" and paid a $5 fine.

The firm represents communities bringing claims against London-based Vedanta Resources and its Zambian subsidiary, Konkola Copper Mines. Konkola is one of the world's largest copper mining companies.

"According to Mr. Holland the initial arresting police officers involved were driving a vehicle displaying the Konkola Copper Mines logo," the law firm's statement said.

Zambian authorities confirmed that Holland and two local government officials were arrested and released.

Copper is Zambia's main export.

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