A top Zimbabwean police officer, involved in bringing MDC Alliance principal Tendai Biti home after the latter fled political persecution and sought refuge in Zambia, yesterday told a Harare magistrate that they ignored a Zambian High Court order prohibiting their actions because they were not cited in the matter.
Chief Superintendent Jealous Nyabasa made the claims after Biti appeared before magistrate Francis Mapfumo facing charges of public violence and contravening sections of the Electoral Act.
The opposition leader, who was represented by lawyers Beatrice Mtetwa and Harrison Nkomo, challenged his arrest and deportation, saying he was abducted from Zambia, where he had gone to seek asylum.
Nyabasa told the court that Biti was brought to him by the Zimbabwe immigration officials at Chirundu Border Post, who had a deportation and handover certificate signed by Zambian authorities.
He said Biti was properly before the court as he was arrested upon handover to authorities on the Zimbabwe side.
“On August 8, I received information that Biti was at Chirundu Border Post. I made a follow-up then at around 8am the next day. I was handed over the accused by officers at Zimbabwe immigration, who then gave me a deportation form from the Zambian authorities and I then informed him that he was under arrest,” Nyabasa told court.
He said he was not privy to circumstances surrounding Biti’s deportation by Zambian authorities.
“The accused person knew that we were looking for him as his lawyers, who include Alec Muchadehama, Jeremiah Bhamu and Harrison Nkomo, were keeping in touch with CID Harare office and were promising to bring him to the station for interviews,” he said.
Nyabasa further told court that Biti’s rights were not violated as he appeared in court within 10 hours of his arrest.
Mapfumo postponed the matter to tomorrow for cross-examination of the witness, saying the court was overwhelmed with other cases.
Biti also wants the court to determine whether the police complied with the law after he argued that he was abducted in Zambia by unidentified Zimbabwean men.
He also told court the circumstances that forced him to cross the border, his arrest and appearance in court. Biti told court that he was not running away from the police but his life was in danger.
Biti added that he was unlawfully returned to Zimbabwe despite the fact that his life was in danger.
He said no court in Zimbabwe had jurisdiction over him and should be in a Zambian court since an order was passed by a Lusaka judge and in light of violations of international laws, his deportation was a nullity and anything that follows is also a nullity.
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