Lawyers seek court remedy to free BBC music presenter holed up in Zimbabwe

HUMAN rights lawyers were on Tuesday 29 May 2012 working on filing an urgent chamber application in the High Court seeking to compel Zimbabwe’s Immigration authorities to release the passport of British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) classical music presenter, Petroc Trelawny, which they are holding onto despite the Attorney General (AG)’s decision not to pursue his prosecution.

Trelawny was stillholed up in Zimbabwe by late Tuesday after authorities from the Department of Immigration refused to release his passport, which they confiscated upon his arrest last week.

On Monday 28 May 2012, the AG’s Office declined to authorise the prosecution of Trelawny, who was arrested last week in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second largest city and charged with contravening the country’s immigration laws for allegedly working in the country without a work permit. This was after the music presenter’s lawyersMunyaradzi Nzarayapenga of Dube-Banda, Nzarayapenga and Partners Legal Practitioners, who is a member lawyer of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) and Nosimilo Chanayiwa of ZLHRconvinced the AG’s Office that he had not violated any of the country’s laws.

The turn down in prosecution by the State paved the way for Trelawny’s release from police and hospital custody, where he had been under police guardfor two nights.

But Nzarayapenga and Chanayiwa advised that officials from the Department of Immigration had informed them that they could not release Trelawny’s travel document as they were reportedly consulting their superiors at their Harare headquarters and the AG’s Office, which notwithstanding has already declined prosecution forcing them to approach the High Court to compel the Immigration authorities to release their client’s travel document.

Trelawny was arrested on Thursday 24 May 2012 in Bulawayo and charged with contravening the country’s immigration laws for allegedly working in the country without a work permit and in contravention of his travel visa during the week long Bulawayo Music Festival, which ended at the weekend.

The BBC presenter, who remains detained at UBH under police guard was expected to have leftZimbabwe on Tuesday 29 May 2012 on condition that he secures his passport from Zimbabwean Immigration authorities, who confiscated the travel document upon his arrest and after completing some procedures with the Zimbabwe Republic Police and collecting his personal belongings from Bulawayo Central Police Station, where he was first detained and where he sustained an injury on his arm while in detention.Trelawny dislocated and fractured his arm when he accidentally stumbled in police cells and was admitted at UBH.

Post published in: Politics

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