Zambia hands back Biti, 5 other Zimbabweans seeking asylum

Zambia hands back Biti,  5 other  Zimbabweans seeking asylum

* Human Rights Watch says Zambia now likely to be taken to international courts for breaking international law and treaty obligations

The Zambian Government has handed over opposition MDC lawmaker Tendai Biti and five others to the Zimbabwean police in total disregard of a High Court Order granted to Mr Biti last night.

According to Mr Biti’s legal team,the Zambian immigration office handed the opposition leader at 06:00hrs this morning despite being served with a court order at 04:00hrs today.

“Contrary to the law and a Court order. And even assuming it was a deportation, which it was not, the law is clear that a deportee can choose a country of his choice to which he can be deported but in this case he was denied that right”.

“The whole thing just smells of illegality and extra judicial behaviour by Zambian authorities. It is also a breach of international law”,the legal team said.

He was accompanied across the border by a horde of heavily armed Zambian police officers and the legal team is currently making frantic efforts to establish his exact whereabouts.

Meanwhile, the team is expected to appear before Judge Yangailo in the wake of the latest developments.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch says If Zambia proceeds with the deportation it will violate its obligations under international law, including several treaties binding on it, that prohibit the return of any person to a country where they face a real risk of torture or other ill treatment (the principle of non-refoulment).

Human Rights Watch says it has documented a pattern of abductions, beatings, and harassment of third parties by security forces and unidentified armed men on the trail of senior opposition MDC Alliance officials in Harare since the election. Zimbabwe authorities have turned a blind eye to these abuses and have neglected to take steps to halt the abuses or hold those responsible to account.

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