by MARCUS MUSHONGA
HARARE, (CAJ News) – SOME police officers and officials from the now-defunct Zimbabwean government of national unity have agreed to pay $13 500 (R191 000) in damages to a human rights lawyer illegally arrested and detained a decade ago.
Mordecai Mahlangu, who is the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) board chairperson, was arrested in November 2009 after highlighting difficulties the authorities would encounter in using a local arms dealer as a witness during the trial of the now-late former opposition legislator, Roy Bennett.
Bennett was undergoing trial for allegedly planning to overthrow
then-president, Robert Mugabe.
Mahlangu was arrested on a trumped up charge of attempting to obstruct the course of justice.
The trial of Bennett and arrest of the lawyer occurred during the
coalition government of Mugabe and the now-late former Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai.
Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers Henry Sostein Dowa and Clever Ntini, together with the co-Home Affairs Ministers, Giles Mutsekwa and Kembo Mohadi, and James Tomana, who served as Attorney-General, have tendered their apologies to Mahlangu, who had sued.
They have acknowledged that the arrest and detention of the legal expert was wrongful and unlawful. They agreed to pay Mahlangu damages to cover his legal costs before November 30.
In September, the Zimbabwean High Court ordered the 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 for allegedly planning to topple Mugabe’s administration.
The violation occurred in 2008.
– CAJ News