Hakainde Hichilema
Main Zambian opposition party United Party for National Development presidential candidate Hakainde Hichilema delivers a speech during a last presidential campaign rally on August 10, 2016 in Lusaka. DAWOOD SALIM/AFP/Getty Images

Aides of Zambia's main opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema were tortured on their genitals when they were arrested over a week ago with Hichilema on charges of treason, their lawyer Jack Mwiimbu has said before a court on Tuesday (18 April).

Known by his supporters as HH, Hichilema was arrested in connection with the allegations, following a police raid on his residence, after which the opposition leader accused President Edgar Lungu of trying to kill him.

Hichilema is appearing in court in the capital, Lusaka, on treason charges for allegedly plotting to overthrow Lungu's government between 12 October 2016 and 12 April 2017. The charge allows no bail and can carry the death penalty.

Tweeting from the court, Hichimena's United Party for National Development (UPND) party has been relaying the proceedings.

Following the reading of charges, lawyer Vincent Malambo hit back, claiming that Hichimena had been arrested "without a warrant".

Mwiimbu, meanwhile, accused the security forces of mistreatment, claiming the leader's aides had been "tortured on their body parts".

The Magistrate said it reserved a ruling on preliminary issues raised in court on Tuesday to 15:00 (local time) this afternoon.

The police and government are yet to comment on the claims.