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This article participates on the following special index pages:

  • Index of articles on enforced disappearances in Zimbabwe

  • The Legal Monitor - Issue 12
    Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
    September 14, 2009

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    Abductees want seized property back

    Several Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) officials and human rights activists abducted last year have asked the Attorney General (AG) to facilitate the return of property seized by state security agents.

    The abductees recently petitioned the AG's head of litigation, Tawanda Zvekare, to facilitate the return of property grabbed during searches conducted at the residences of victims of last year's State sanctioned disappearances.

    The eleven MDC officials and human rights activists are part of a group of 17 people abducted and held incommunicado in various secret locations between October and December last year.

    The State is charging the abductees with sabotage, banditry, terrorism and plotting to unseat the previous government led by President Robert Mugabe.

    Gandhi Mudzingwa, now Director of Infrastructure Development in Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's office lost his Nissan truck, US$310, a cell phone handset and shoes among other items. Freelance photo-journalist Andrison Manyere lost US$4 500, a laptop, three Nokia handsets, a digital camera and his passport.

    Kisimusi Dhlamini, the MDC director of security lost US$2 000, a Nokia handset and two sim cards, while Chinoto Zulu lost his Ford Bantam vehicle, US$2 010, a mobile handset and a sim card.

    Fidelis Chiramba (73), the oldest of the abductees lost three cameras, shoes, and a belt while Mapfumo Garutsa lost his mobile handset and a sim card.

    Manuel Chinanzvavana and his wife Concilia, who were abducted from their Banket home last October, lost a desktop computer, printer, clothes, mobile handsets, several sim cards and children's passports.

    Tawanda Bvumo lost US$135, a mobile handset and a sim card.

    Broderick Takawira, a human rights activist with the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) lost his mobile handset and two sim cards, car keys and US$295, while Audrey Zimbudzana lost a mobile handset.

    "Kindly make the above property available to our clients for collection and advise us as soon as possible when our clients can collect their property," the abductees' lawyers wrote to Zvekare.

    Zvekare has not responded nor acknowledged receipt of the letter.

    Lawyers for the abductees said they were also compiling a futher inventory of the missing property for the other abductees who suffered the same fate as the eleven.

    Already, 17 of the abductees have filed a lawsuit with the High Court demanding US$1.2 million each in damages for abduction and torture.

    In June, a Bikita Magistrate granted an order allowing seven villagers to claim about $7 000 in damanges for property looted by alleged ZANU PF activists in the run-up to last year's presidential run-off.

    In a related incident, 16 villagers in Nyanga are waiting for a ruling on their application to the Magistrate Court to be granted an order allowing them to claim about $900 in damages for their property looted by alleged Zanu PF supporters last year.

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