The son of Zambia's former president Rupiah Banda was arrested Thursday on charges of defaming his father's successor, his lawyer told AFP.

Andrew Banda was picked up by police at a court, where he was answering unrelated charges of graft in connection with road building contracts.

"He has been charged with the offence of defamation of the president but has been released without bond," said lawyer Milner Katolo.

Police claim that Andrew Banda told a recent political gathering not to go to Michael Sata's rallies because the president is a Satanist and so they risked being sacrificed. He is expected to report to a police station on Friday.

Zambia's former president visited his son, who was kept in holding cells for close to three hours before being released.

If convicted, Andrew Banda risks serving a jail sentence of not less than five years.

It is the latest in a series of charges against the Banda family.

Rupiah Band has faced a raft of criminal charges since his successor's administration took office in September 2011.

He has also been barred from leaving the country.

Banda maintains the charges are politically motivated and part of a crackdown on Sata's critics which has seen websites banned and journalists harassed.