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Strikes and Protests 2007- Save Zimbabwe Campaign
orders police to return MDC officials' passports
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
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,"
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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