Zimbabwe: High Court rules in favour of human rights defender
The ICJ welcomed the judgment issued on 24 October 2012 by the Zimbabwe High Court in favour of Farai Maguwu, a human rights defender and director of the Centre for Research and Development.
In September 2011, members of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) confiscated a number of Farai Maguwu’s possessions, including cash, a laptop computer, a camera, and bank cards, at the Harare International Airport while he was about to depart for a human rights conference in Ireland.
The ICJ is concerned that the seizure of property may have been undertaken as an attack on Farai Maguwu for his legitimate human rights work.
According to media reports, Hon. Justice Mathonsi ordered, “the seizure of the applicant’s property by the State agents…be and is hereby declared wrongful, unlawful and unjustified”.
Since the confiscation of his property by the CIO over a year ago, no charges had been brought against Mr Maguwu, neither was his property returned.
Justice Mathonsi affirmed that deprivation of property must only be done in accordance with due process of law. Farai Maguwu had not been advised of the legal basis or reasons for the seizure of his property.
“We congratulate the judiciary of Zimbabwe for this judgment which adheres to the principles of the rule of law, justice and respect for human rights. Furthermore, it is a reminder to State agents that in carrying out their duties they ought to do so within the parameters of the rule of law,” commented Martin Masiga, Deputy Director of the ICJ Africa Regional Programme.
The ICJ calls on the Zimbabwean judiciary to continue to uphold the rule of law and fulfil their responsibility in protecting human rights in Zimbabwe.
Martin Masiga, Deputy Director, ICJ Africa Regional Programme, t: +27 11 02482NewsWeb stories