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  • Strikes and Protests 2007- Save Zimbabwe Campaign

  • Judge orders police to return MDC officials' passports
    Patricia Mpofu and Thabani Mlilo, ZimOnline
    March 22, 2007

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    HARARE – A Zimbabwe High Court judge on Wednesday ordered the police to immediately allow two opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) officials to seek specialist medical treatment outside the country.

    In an urgent chamber application, Justice Bharat Patel further ordered the police to release the travel documents of Sekai Holland and Grace Kwinje to enable the two to travel outside the country.

    Holland and Kwinje were arrested at Harare International Airport last Saturday as they prepared to travel to South Africa for medical treatment following their brutal torture by state agents last week while in police custody.

    In his submissions, the MDC officials’ lawyer, Alec Muchadehama argued that the police were in contempt of court after they failed to abide by an earlier High Court ruling last week ordering the police to take the MDC activists to court on Tuesday or release them.

    Muchadehama said the accused persons were free after the police failed to summon the MDC activists to court to answer to charges of public violence.

    "I submit that the honourable court treat the applicants as people who were re-arrested without any charges being preferred against them given that police had failed to abide by an earlier court ruling to take them to court by 12 noon on the 13th of March for remand.

    "As far as I am concerned, the accused persons were released in terms of the original order," argued Muchadehama.

    Patel consented to the MDC officials’ request to have armed police officers guarding them at a local Harare private clinic removed and that the police be barred from restricting their movement outside the country.

    "The applicants are granted leave to exit Zimbabwe to South Africa for the purposes of seeking urgent life saving medical treatment at a health institution or hospital of their choice and to leave and enter Zimbabwe," said Patel.

    "The respondents and all those acting through them be and are hereby ordered to release forthwith the applicants' passports. Respondents . . . are hereby directed to cause the removal of the guards at applicants' hospital beds at the Avenues clinic in Harare," the judge said.

    The judge however, said Holland and Kwinjeh should at all times keep the police advised about their whereabouts during the next six weeks in the event that the police would want to serve the two with summonses.

    "They should make themselves available in Zimbabwe after the period stated in order to be served with such summons as may be issued against them to answer criminal charges as may be preferred against them," he said.

    Muchadehama confirmed the ruling when contacted for comment last night.

    "It means they can now go for medical treatment in South Africa but we are trying to get their passports from the police," said Muchadehama. - ZimOnline

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