Zimbabwe opposition figure arrested after deportation from Zambia

Former finance minister Tendai Biti detained after Zambian authorities defied a court order not to deport him.

    Six people were killed in post-election violence in Zimbabwe [AP]
    Six people were killed in post-election violence in Zimbabwe [AP]

    Zimbabwean police detained a former finance minister and now an opposition figure, Tendai Biti, after Zambian authorities rejected his bid for asylum and deported him.

    "An hour ago Biti was handed over to Zimbabwean law enforcement officers and as we speak he is on Zimbabwean soil," his Zambian lawyer Gilbert Phiri told the Reuters news agency by phone.

    Authorities in Zambia on Thursday defied a court order stopping them from deporting Biti, handing him over to police across the border, he said.

    The opposition Movement for Democratic Change figure fled to Zambia on Wednesday but was denied asylum.

    Police in Zimbabwe were looking for Biti and eight other opposition leaders for allegedly fomenting violence following a disputed national election in which President Emmerson Mnangagwa was declared the winner.

    Biti was named along with the opposition presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa in a search warrant issued last week.

    They and several others were accused of "possession of dangerous weapons" and "subversive material", as well as "public violence," according to a copy of the warrant.

    'Controversial results'

    Biti declared before the election results were announced on Friday that Chamisa had won, a claim also made by the opposition candidate himself.

    "In a normal country, Chamisa would be sworn in right now," Biti told reporters a day after the vote.

    The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has said it is illegal to release results before its own official announcement.

    Rights activists expressed concern over a violent government crackdown after last week's disputed vote.

    Police raided the opposition party headquarters on August 2, a day after the military rolled into the capital, Harare, and dispersed opposition protesters by force, killing six people.

    A turning point for Zimbabwe?

    Inside Story

    A turning point for Zimbabwe?

    SOURCE: News agencies


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