Wednesday, 22 August 2018

BITI RULING SET FOR NEXT THURSDAY


Harare magistrate Mr Francis Mapfumo is next Thursday expected to rule on whether or not one of the MDC-Alliance principals Tendai Biti’s arrest and appearance in court were lawful.

Biti, who is facing charges of inciting violence and contravening the Electoral Act, is challenging the jurisdiction of the court in his case, arguing that he was “abducted” by Zimbabwean authorities who returned him to Zimbabwe from Zambia.

Biti, who was denied asylum by the Zambian government after he tried to seek refuge in that country, wants the court to determine whether his arrest and appearance in court were proper given the circumstances of his case.

He argued that he was unlawfully arrested in Zambia by unidentified Zimbabwean men. Through his lawyers — Ms Beatrice Mtetwa, Messrs Alec Muchadehama, Harrison Nkomo and Gift Mtisi — Biti in his application said when he sought asylum in Zambia, he was not running away from the police, but from political persecution.
In his evidence-in-chief, Biti said: “I was unlawfully returned to Zimbabwe despite the fact that my life was in danger. No court in Zimbabwe has jurisdiction over me, I should be in a Zambian court since an order was passed by a Lusaka judge.

“In light of these violations of international laws, Zimbabwe and Zambian domestic laws, my deportation is a nullity and anything that follows is a nullity.”

Prosecuting, Mr Michael Reza opposed the application and called the investigating officer in the case, Chief Superintendent Jealous Nyabasa, who told the court that when Biti was denied asylum by the Zambian government, he was handed over to the Zimbabwean immigration officials, who in turn surrendered him to the police.

He dismissed Biti’s claims that he was arrested on Zambian soil.
Chief Supt Nyabasa said the opposition figure played hide and seek with the police fully aware that he was wanted for questioning.

He said Biti was lawfully arrested.

“Your Worship, the accused is a Zimbabwean citizen who was lawfully arrested in Zimbabwe at Chirundu Border Post and lawfully brought to court within the stipulated time frame,” said Chief Supt Nyabasa.

“Therefore, given the circumstances, he is properly before the court.”

Mrs Beatrice Mtetwa said she would file her written submissions today and the State will respond next Tuesday, while Mr Mapfumo should deliver a ruling based on the written submissions next                                                                             Thursday. Herald

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