by MARCUS MUSHONGA
HARARE, (CAJ News) – THE cash-strapped Zimbabwean government could once more be forced to pay for former President Robert Mugabe’s brutal reign after a human rights lawyer sued the administration for his contentious arrest in 2009.
Top advocate, Mordecai Mahlangu, is suing for the harassment he suffered when he was arrested and spent a night at the Harare Central Police Station cells on a charge of attempting to defeat the due course of justice.
The charge arose from his representation of Michael Peter Hitschmann, who was a witness in the trial of the senior official of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) official, Roy Bennett, now late.
Bennett was on trial for alleged treason against Mugabe’s government.
Mahlangu, the Board Chairperson for Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), argued his arrest was not warranted as he was acting purely as a legal practitioner giving advice in accordance with his professional requirements.
Among those he is suing are two officers that arrested him, former Commissioner-General of the force, Augustine Chihuri, Johannes Tomana, the former Attorney-General and former co-Ministers of Home Affairs Kembo Mohadi and Theresa Makone.
High Court Judge, Justice Philda Muzofa, will on Wednesday preside over the case.
Last month, the Zimbabwean High Court ordered the cash-strapped government to pay compensation of US$150 000 (over R2,2 million) to human rights activist, Jestina Mukoko, who was kidnapped and tortured by state agents on allegations of planning to topple Mugabe’s government.
– CAJ News