THE case of six MDC-T activists and a freelance journalist accused of terrorism was on Wednesday referred to the Supreme Court amid revelations of how they were allegedly abducted and tortured by suspected state security agents in violation of their constitutional rights.
MDC-T activists Kisimusi Dhlamini, Zacharia Nkomo, Regis Mueyi, Mapfumo Garutsa, Chinoto Mukwezaramba Zulu, Gandhi Mudzingwa and journalist Andrison Manyere were due to be tried on Monday in the High Court, but their lawyer Alec Muchadehama made an application before Justice Charles Hungwe for referral of the matter to the constitutional court.
In the application, Muchadehama said the applicantsâ€™ constitutional rights to personal liberty, protection from inhuman and degrading treatment, and protection of the law were violated when they were allegedly kidnapped, tortured and kept incommunicado last year.
The activists and journalist are accused of bombing police stations and railway lines last year.
If the Supreme Court is satisfied that the activistsâ€™ rights were violated, Muchadehama said, it should stay prosecution of his clients.
Muchadehama said the state did not have any evidence against the applicants.
â€œThe state does not have any evidence against the applicants. All violations that were done, were done firstly as a way of trying to extract confessions from applicants,â€ he said.
However, state prosecutor Chris Mutangadura argued that the applicantsâ€™ application was â€œfrivolous and vexatiousâ€ in that (abduction and torture) allegations raised by the applicants have not been proven before the court.
â€œThe applicants must establish certain facts before the court. Otherwise it cannot make a proper determination,â€ Mutangadura argued. â€œShould it be established that their rights have been violated, then they should pray that the case be taken to the Supreme Court.â€
Mutangadura submitted an uncommisioned and unsigned affidavit which he claimed was authored by the Minister of State for National Security Sydney Sekeramayi, denying that the applicants were abducted and kidnapped by state security agents.
The affidavit accused the applicants of raising abduction and torture claims to escape prosecution.
Justice Hungwe, however, did not see the activistsâ€™ application as â€œfrivolous and vexatiousâ€.
The judge said the affidavit the state produced did not show that the MDC-T activists and Manyereâ€™s application was frivolous and vexatious.
â€œGive me evidence to show that this is a frivolous application,â€ Hungwe said.Â â€œThat is not a frivolous application at all. There is no need for all this argument therefore I refer this case to the Supreme Court.â€
In his founding affidavit, Dhlamini â€“â€“ the director of security in the MDC-T â€“â€“ said he and other applicants were between November 25 and December 8 last year abducted by state security agents, a move he claimed violated their constitutional rights.
Â â€œWe were taken to secret detention which we later got to know was Goromonzi Prison. There we were granted no access to family or medical or legal assistance. In fact we were held completely incommunicado,â€ reads Dhlaminiâ€™s affidavit.He said while in detention, police and state security agents tortured them using various methods.
â€œThe attacks ranged from severe body assaults â€˜falangaâ€“styleâ€™, psychological intimidation, excessive interrogation, drowning â€˜water boardingâ€™ and several other methods whose particulars appear in our affidavits. We were for most of the times kept in solitary confinement.â€
BY WONGAI ZHANGAZHA