BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
The six human rights activists who were arrested in 2019 on allegations of plotting to subvert a constitutionally-elected government after they attended a human rights workshop in Maldives have filed a US$300 000 lawsuit for unlawful arrest and detention.
George Makoni from the Centre for Community Development, Tatenda Mombeyarara from the International Socialist Organisation, Gamuchirai Mukura from the Community Tolerance Reconciliation and Development, Nyasha Mpahlo from Green Governance Zimbabwe, Rita Nyamupinga and Stabile Dewa, are claiming US$50 000 each from Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe for the suffering they endured during their arrest and long detention.
Other respondents are Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga, officer-in-charge CID Law and Order, Detective Assistant Inspector Ben Justin, Detective Constable Mutuzungari and Prosecutor-General Kumbirai Hodzi.
The activists were acquitted at the Harare Magistrates Court after the State failed to bring them for trial.
“As a result of the unlawful arrest, detention, assault and malicious prosecution perpetrated upon the plaintiffs, the plaintiffs suffered damages in the following amounts of US$15 000 for wrongful arrest, US$5 000 general damages for pain, shock and suffering, US$10 000 for malicious detention, US$10 000 for unlawful detention, US$5 000 for loss of income, US$5 000 for travelling, accommodation and subsistence and legal expenses incurred as a result of the unlawful arrest as well as interest from the date of issue of summons to date of full payment,” Mombeyarara submitted.
The six were arrested together with Farirai Gumbonzvanda.
During their arrest, the State alleged that the suspects were trained on how to operate firearms, among other things, during their stay in Maldives.
Prosecutors alleged that they connived to travel to Maldives, where they attended a training workshop organised by a Serbian non-governmental organisation called Centre for Applied Non-violent Action and Strategies (Canvas).
The State alleged they did that with the intention to subvert a constitutionally-elected Zanu PF government.
It was also alleged that during the workshop, they received training on how to mobilise citizens to turn against the government and to engage in acts of civil disobedience and or resistance to any law during the anticipated national protests by anti-government groups.
They were arrested upon landing at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport on May 27 2019.
Their laptops and cellphones, which allegedly contained the subversive material, were seized and taken to the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe for extraction of evidence.
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