Zambian police arrested a South African miner last week for allegedly making disparaging comments about President Levy Mwanawasa, an official said Monday.
The 22-year-old South African, Brandon Childs, was reported to the police by three Zambian miners who accused him of insulting the president a criminal offense that is punishable by up to three years in prison, according to Dyford Muulwa, a district commissioner in Zambia's Copperbelt Province.
It was unclear what Childs is alleged to have said.
The alleged incident occurred at Mopani Copper Mines, a major mining facility that sits on top of some of the largest copper deposits in the world near Zambia's northern border with the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Childs, who works for a South African contractor, RJ Southey, allegedly "uttered a few disparaging remarks against the president in the presence of three other workers," Muulwa said. "Those are the people who came to complain."
Childs, who was charged with defamation, has been released from prison on bail as the government determines its next move, Muulwa said.