State attempts to blame Biti for political violence

HARARE - Magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe will on Friday decide whether to place opposition secretary general Tendai Biti on remand as demanded by the state, which on Thursday tried to blame Biti for the political violence engulfing Zimbabwe.

State counsel Florence Ziyambi told Guvamombe that Biti was the author of a document titled Transitional Mechanisms which outlines plans to seize power unconstitutionally and should therefore be remanded in jail until he appears in court to answer to charges of treason.

Ziyambi claimed that the political violence that has engulfed Zimbabwe and killed at least 70 members of Biti’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party could be directly linked to the mysterious document although the state lawyer admitted she had not seen an original copy of the document.

The violence currently engulfing the nation is linked to the document that the accused (Biti) authored and signed. The anomalies which characterised the elections were also influenced by the document, said Ziyambi.

However the defence urged Guvamombe to free Biti, saying that the opposition leader had disowned the document that the state was basing its case on soon after it was published by the state-owned Herald newspaper.

In addition, no one including the state had seen an original of the document in question and Biti was not linked to the document in any way except that his name was typed on it, the defence said.

Advocate Happious Zhou for the defence said: The state does not have an original of the document on which the state is basing its case and the only association between accused (Biti) and the document is that his name was typed on it.

The document has no source and therefore cannot be attributed to him. It would be a disaster for anybody to be placed on remand on the basis of their name having been typed on the document.

The defence team also formally raised with the magistrate complaints about the way the police arrested Biti which the team said was akin to abduction.

The MDC politician was arrested before he set foot on the tarmac at Harare International airport as he arrived from South Africa. He was handcuffed and bundled into a waiting Mercedes Benz and driven away.

His lawyers said the way the arrest was executed was calculated to deny Biti access to lawyers and to make him feel all alone in the world and to cause trauma, shock, and horror.

Biti was also deprived of sleep, rest or food during the first 48 hours of his arrest during which he was subjected to continuous interrogation, the lawyers said.

Guvamombe is expected to make his ruling at around 1115 hrs today. – ZimOnline

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