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Court awards MDC-T activist damages

He was represented by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum’s public interest unit (PIU). Katiyo was abducted from his home and assaulted by the Zanu PF supporters before being taken to a base at Madamombe Township in Murehwa, where he was detained for three days and three nights under inhuman conditions.

 

“During his detention, Mr Katiyo was denied medical treatment and was forced to share the room with a corpse of a fellow villager who had succumbed to the same gruesome treatment by the defendants,” said the forum.

0Sixteen other MDC-T activists and a journalist are suing four cabinet ministers and the security agents for US$19,2 million for their alleged abduction, unlawful detention and deprivation of liberty in 2008. The activists and journalist Shadreck Manyere are demanding US$1,2 million each in damages from the ministries of Home Affairs, Justice and State Security.

Other respondents cited in documents filed by the activists with the High Court included Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri, prisons boss Paradzai Zimondi and Central Intelligence Organisation director-general Happyton Bonyongwe.

A group of 10 MDC-T activists who were arrested and detained in March this year but later released without any charges preferred against them have instituted civil claims for compensation against the police. The activists recently took their matter to the High Court seeking compensation for damages suffered during their period of arrest and detention by the law enforcement agents.

They are claiming US$60 000 each as compensation for their unlawful arrest and detention during which they allege to have suffered serious psychological and emotional stress, discomfort and loss of liberty.

The activists claim that they were unlawfully arrested at MDC-T headquarters in Harare on March 13 this year when police pounced on them while they were discussing with some party supporters.

Upon their arrest, they were taken to Harare Central police station where they were held for four days, only to be released on March 16 without any charges being preferred against them.

Their lawyers, led by Gift Mtisi of Musendekwa and Mtisi legal practitioners is arguing that the police pounced on the activists without any reasonable suspicion of them having committed any offence hence their arrest and detention was unlawful.

Chief Inspector Clever Ntini and Morgan Makombe of the CID Law and Order Section are cited as the first and second defendants in the case. Home Affairs co-ministers Kembo Mohadi and Theresa Makone are cited as third and fourth defendants respectively while Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri is the fifth defendant.

 

NGo applauds court ruling

 

The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum applauded the court ruling in favour of Katiyo as a milestone towards fostering respect for the rule of law and human rights in country that has been characterised by political intolerance for over a decade now.

“This is a positive step towards promoting respect for human rights and serves to deter future violators of human rights thereby fostering a culture of accountability in the communities.” Several other activists are suing the State for illegal detention and torture. This comes at a critical moment, when principals to the coalition government are calling for peace.

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