THE ZIMBABWE Prison Service is alleged to have refused to comply with a court instruction ordering the release of a detained Pakistan national, despite the availability of liberation warrants from the magistrates’ court.
Report by Charles Laiton
The Pakistan national Zohaib Shabbir, who was the State’s star witness in the matter of the jailed principal immigration officer Godfrey Kondo and his workmate Fenia Aisam, was last month incarcerated by a Beitbridge magistrate on charges of remaining in the country illegally and failing to produce a permit within the required time.
Shabbir, however, later appealed against the chief immigration officer’s decision to have him deported and the court ruled in his favour and ordered the immigration department to issue him with a temporary permit.
“Respondent (chief immigration officer) called three times at 8:30am in default, appeal is allowed with costs. Appellant is to be released forthwith from Beitbridge Prison. The respondent to issue the appellant (Shabbir) with a temporary permit, pending other immigration procedures,” provincial magistrate Gloria Takundwa ruled on March 19.
On the same date, the Beitbridge clerk of court issued out a warrant of liberation ordering the prison to release Shabbir, but the immigration officials challenged the magistrate’s decision, arguing the matter had been heard in their absence.
On Tuesday the chief immigration officer’s application for recession of judgment was again dismissed by Takundwa who then referred questions raised in the matter to the Supreme Court for determination.
Another warrant of liberation was issued by the clerk of court, but the prison officials allegedly refused to let Shabbir free despite the matter being on appeal in the Supreme Court.
A distraught father Muhammad told, NewsDay yesterday that all his efforts to secure his son’s release had proved futile.
“My son is still being held in prison at Beitbridge despite the court’s order to have him released. I have been to the prison, but the officers are refusing to release him, I do not know why.
“He has all the necessary papers to stay in this country and is a co-director in my transport business,” Muhammad said showing the court documents.