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My hands are tied: Judge

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THE High Court has dismissed an abduction case of a Mabvuku woman who went missing on January 6 after she was allegedly arrested by unidentified uniformed soldiers for breaking Covid-19 lockdown laws.
In an application before the court for the unconditional release of Evelyn Kanamo, 27, Justice Pisirai Kwenda ruled that his hands were tied to handle the case due to lack of evidence linking the army to the alleged kidnapping.

Kwenda dismissed the application last week after the army successfully contested evidence brought by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights’ Kossam Ncube linking soldiers to the suspected abduction. Ncube was representing Kanamo’s husband, Nyikadzino Konolozi, who filed the court application.

“The application was dismissed for lack of evidence. The counsel for the army submitted that they had not deployed soldiers in that area on the said date and the judge could not rely on the message that was sent by the victim to her husband,” Ncube said.

“We have not received any update from our client who is still looking for his wife to ascertain her whereabouts.” Konolozi had cited Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) commander Valerio Sibanda, the ZDF and Defence minister OppahMuchinguri as respondents in the application.

Konolozi had sought a habeas corpus order against the army and all personnel under its charge for Kanamo to be immediately brought to the High Court and secure her release unless lawful grounds are advanced for her
detention.

He alleged that on January 6, Kanamo was arrested by uniformed soldiers in Manresa, Harare, on her way home from work at around 3pm.

Following the alleged arrest, she reportedly sent a text message to her husband informing him of her predicament, but did not indicate where she was being taken to.

Konolozi then made a report at Eastview police base and another at Mabvuku Police Station since the incident had allegedly occurred in Manresa, which is under the jurisdiction of Mabvuku.

He was subsequently advised that the matter had been referred to CID Homicide at Harare Central Police Station and on January 13 was told that the matter was under investigation and no further information was provided.

Konolozi queried why the police did not engage the army considering that he had reported that they had arrested his wife.

“As matters stand it is not possible to ascertain her whereabouts as no authority has accepted responsibility for her and neither has she been brought to any court of law to answer to any charges,” Konolozi said in the court papers.

“It, therefore, appears that wherever she is she is being held against her will and in illegal circumstances as she has not been brought before any court of law since her arrest on January 6.

“There is also risk of her being tortured, raped or even killed as the soldiers holding her are doing so illegally and there is no knowing what could be done to her since clearly her detention is being done outside the parameters of the law.”

 

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