Friday, 28 September 2018

FLIGHT RISK BITI DENIED PASSPORT


MDC-Alliance principal Tendai Biti’s application for a temporary release of his passport was yesterday dismissed by Harare magistrate Mr Francis Mapfumo because he is a flight risk since he was arrested while attempting to flee the country.

Biti had applied for the temporary release of his passport to attend counselling sessions for post-traumatic disorder in South Africa and a conference organised by Pan-African lawyer’s Union in Tunisia.

Mr Mapfumo ruled that the release of Biti’s passport was too risky as the State was using it to ensure that he followed the court’s guidelines and appeared for his routine remand.

“The basis of the case lies on the fact that the accused was arrested while he was using the very passport he is asking to be released,” he said.

“He knew that he was wanted by the police and he chose to flee. If it was not for the Zambian government that returned him, he would have succeeded in fleeing.

“The passport is a way of ensuring that he shows his face before the court. Releasing it is too risky, therefore, the application is hereby dismissed.”

Biti was further remanded to October 3.

Through his lawyers — Ms Beatrice Mtetwa, Messrs Alec Muchadehama, Harrison Nkomo, Gift Mtisi and Denford Halimani — Biti made an application for the release of his passport from September 26 to October 23.

The State represented by Mr Michael Reza opposed the application, stating that there was no need for him to go for treatment in South Africa since he was invited for medical treatment, yet he had not indicated that he was not well.

Mr Reza argued that in the case of the conference in Tunisia, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights can nominate another lawyer to represent them.

Biti is facing charges of inciting violence and contravening Section 66A (1) of the Electoral Act Chapter 2:13, which prohibits the unofficial or false declaration of election results.

He is alleged to have unlawfully declared opposition party leader Mr Nelson Chamisa as the winner in the presidential elections held on July 30.Herald

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