BY SILAS NKALA
AN engineering student at the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) has filed a $1 million lawsuit against police and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for unlawful arrest and prosecution.
Panashe Vongai Sivandani claims she was wrongly arrested on July 31 last year for allegedly inciting public violence after being found in possession of a placard inscribed “Free Hopewell Chin’ono, no to nepotism, no to corruption”.
Through her lawyer Bruce Masamvu, Sivandani filed an application at the Bulawayo High Court on March 12 citing police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga, Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe and NPA as defendants.
“On a date mentioned, plaintiff arrived at Bulawayo Central Police Station to file a report of the kidnapping of herself and her companion, one Abednigo Shakafuswa. The report is still pending under case CR105/07/20,” particulars of the claim read.
“Following the kidnapping report and recovery of the plaintiff’s car with the help of the police, which car had been taken by the kidnappers, the plaintiff was then informed to report to Khumalo Police Station.
“On arrival at Khumalo Police Station, her mobile phone was seized by the police and she was detained, unattended, in the charge office from 2pm to 8pm.”
Sivandani said her lawyers were then informed late into the night that she was being charged with inciting public violence.
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She was detained overnight and taken to court on August 1 where she was placed on remand.
She said she was granted bail pending trial and had to appear in court four times before she applied for refusal of further remand which was granted after the court ruled that there was no evidence linking her to the alleged crime.
“As a result of defendants’ wrongful and malicious conduct which was politically motivated, they have together caused emotional trauma, pain and suffering to the plaintiff by preferring baseless charges, detaining and prosecuting the plaintiff,” the lawyer said.
“The plaintiff is accordingly claiming non-patrimonial damages for nervous shock, emotional trauma, pain and suffering.
“As a result of the defendant’s conduct, the plaintiff suffered damages in the sum of $1 million…”
The defendants are yet to respond to the claim.
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