Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Biti demands $15m from police and Russian for “unjustified” detention

By Never Kadungure | Nehanda Politics |

The Vice President of the opposition MDC Alliance, Tendai Biti, has filed a lawsuit demanding Z$15m (USD$185 185) from the police and a Russian woman Tatiana Aleshina who filed an assault charge that led to his “unjustified” arrest and detention.

Main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) vice president and legislator Tendai Biti
Main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) vice president and legislator Tendai Biti

In addition to Aleshina, the application cites police detectives identified as Garauzive and Chibaya and Constable Sydney Ndlovu as respondents who caused his “unjustified” detention. 

Biti is now seeking $5 million for injury to his feelings, $5 million for deprivation of liberty, torture, cruelty and degrading treatment. The other $5 million is for malicious and wrongful actions. Biti is not happy with the way the matter was handled given the triviality of the charge

“The defendants did not afford the plaintiff the opportunity of paying an admission of guilt fine given the triviality of the charge and failed to take the plaintiff to court for timeous remand process.”

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“The defendants despite protest proceeded to unlawfully detain the plaintiff in police custody at Harare Central Police Station until he was released on bail on December 6.”

Biti says he was unnecessarily exposed to the risk of contracting Covid-19 in custody.

“The defendants were malicious in their actions in detaining the plaintiff under circumstances where Covid-19 exists and detention conditions characterised by lack of running water, sanitisers, masks, gloves or shoes,” he said.

“Over 52 inmates were detained on that particular night and there was overcrowding and no social distancing,” he said in the application.

The background to the case is that Biti was involved in litigation, representing a client in the Harare Airport Road scandal. Aleshina was reportedly whispering information to the prosecution constantly and Biti voiced a complaint to the magistrate about her conduct.

“After the court hearing, Aleshina confronted honourable Biti threatening that he should not mention his name,” MDC spokeswoman Fadzai Mahere told the AFP news agency, adding that Aleshina then filed a police report. Biti was arrested when he went to the police to clear his name, Mahere added.

“Biti’s only crime is unearthing the corruption scandal concerning the Harare Airport Road land deal involving the complainant, Aleshina, and businessmen linked to [President] Emmerson Mnangagwa.”

Aleshina and Augur Investments have since filed a US$1 million against Biti and the MDC Alliance for accusing them of corruption in the Harare Airport Road scandal through posts on Twitter.