Daily Maverick

Tendai Biti’s court application dismissed

File Photo: Alliance principal Tendai Biti (C) leaves the Harare Magistrates courts, Harare, Zimbabwe, 09 August 2018. EPA-EFE/AARON UFUMELI

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance co-leader Tendai Biti’s court application challenging his illegal arrest and charges of violating Zimbabwe’s electoral laws has been dismissed

Opposition leader Tendai Biti’s challenge was dismissed by Harare Magistrate Francis Mapfumo on Friday.

After the dismissal, Alec Muchadehama, representing Biti, said outside court that they would be filing an application for review of the ruling in the High Court.

The magistrate has dismissed our application and now we are going to the High Court for a review on the basis that as far as we are concerned his judgment was grossly unreasonable,” Muchadehama said.

He added that he believed that the magistrate did not appreciate the issues they bought before him, such as the issue of refoulement.

Magistrate Mapfumo stated that the court acknowledged that the accused was given to the police by immigration officers but rebutted the issue that the police violated the law.

There was no violation of international law since he (Biti) was arrested while still in the country,” ruled Mapfumo.

What the accused uttered in announcing that MDC Alliance leader (Nelson Chamisa) was the winner (of the presidential elections) was indeed violation of the law.”

The court further indicated that there was indeed no evidence that Biti’s relatives were harassed as there was no such case reported anywhere in the country.

Court finds there is no basis to permanently stay this case and his application therefore has no basis,” read the ruling.

The MDC Alliance co-principal was arrested in early August at Chirundu Border Post, (Zimbabwe/Zambia boarder post) trying to escape to the neighbouring country.

Biti is being accused of having a hand in the post-election violence that saw the military intervening and shooting indiscriminately at protesters and unarmed civilians resulting in the death of six people and several injured.

Further, Biti is also facing charges of announcing the just-ended 30 July election results, a mandate that is the sole duty of the electoral body, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), and declaring the MDC Alliance presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa as the presidential race winner.

Muchadehama, through the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), was challenging his arrest arguing that he (Biti) was unlawfully held by Zimbabwean authorities from Zambian territory, where the local courts had allowed his bid to seek asylum. DM

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