A HARARE magistrate yesterday dismissed MDC Alliance vice-chairperson, Tendai Biti’s application for a temporary release of his passport to seek treatment at a South African counselling service unit.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
Biti wanted his passport in order for him to undergo post-traumatic stress disorder treatment and counselling after he allegedly endured torture at the hands of security agents when he was arrested trying to seek asylum in neighbouring Zambia recently.
He is facing charges of violating the Electoral Act after he allegedly announced that MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa had won the July 30 presidential poll. The Harare East MP is also accused of border jumping.
In passing his ruling, magistrate Francis Mapfumo said it is too risky to release Biti’s passport as it was the only tool they have to secure his attendance. Mapfumo said it is on record that Biti wanted to go to Zambia to seek asylum and if granted the application, may abscond.
“It is on record that the accused person wants to go to Zambia to seek asylum and it is the court’s view that it is risky to release the passport for him to travel to South Africa and Tunisia as it is the only tool which the court has to secure his attendance and the application is hereby dismissed,” Mapfumo said.
Biti, who wanted his passport back until October 23, is expected in the same court on October 3 for his ongoing trial.
According to his lawyer, Harrison Nkomo, he is also supposed to attend a Pan African Lawyers Union conference in Tunisia after being seconded by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.
Michael Reza appeared for the State.