Zim state security agents assault human rights lawyer as court sets date for ruling on Biti’s challenge

ZIMBABWEAN state security agents assaulted Unite Saizi, a human rights lawyer as they seized Tendai Biti, one of the MDC Alliance party leaders, who was charged with contravening the country’s electoral laws and committing public violence.

Biti’s lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa told Harare Magistrate Francis Mapfumo on Monday 20 August 2018 that some state security agents who seized Biti early this month, severely assaulted Saizi, a lawyer with Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights after he was deployed to offer emergency legal support services to the opposition political party leader.

Mtetwa said the state security agents, who intercepted Saizi in Kariba in Mashonaland West province after he was deployed to offer emergency legal support services and to ensure Biti’s safety, severely assaulted him, dispossessed him of his mobile phone and punctured his vehicle tyres to stop him from tracking the convoy in which Biti was travelling in.

Mtetwa told Magistrate Mapfumo that the state security agents who arrested Biti violated his fundamental rights by not allowing him to inform his legal practitioner and to be represented by that legal practitioner and inform his family members and medical practitioner as provided in section 70 of the Constitution.

Chief Superintendent Jealous Nyabasa, who is the investigating officer in the matter said he failed to accord Biti his rights as provided in section 70 of the Constitution due to “circumstances” beyond his control.

Mtetwa said Biti was abducted from Zambia on 09 August 2018 and unlawfully brought to Zimbabwe and was currently unlawfully appearing in a Zimbabwean court in breach of international customary law as he ought to have been appearing in the Zambian High Court on 09 August 2018 for a determination of his political asylum status.

Biti returns to court on Thursday 30 August 2018, where Magistrate Mapfumo will hand down his ruling on the opposition political party leader’s application challenging the jurisdiction of the Zimbabwean court to hear his matter considering the circumstances surrounding his arrest and return to Zimbabwe.

Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights

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