Media statement: Zimbabwe Republic Police are refusing to allow Dr Peter Magombeyi to leave Zimbabwe in order to seek medical treatment following his recent abduction

Salc : Kaajal Ramjathan-Keogh

SALC is concerned about the failure of the Zimbabwe government to abide by an order of the High Court. This follows the Zimbabwe Republic Police’s (ZRP) repeated refusals to permit Dr Magombeyi to leave the country in order to seek medical treatment. Their conduct amounts to contempt of court and they should be held accountable by the court for this. Dr Magombeyi is the acting president of the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctor’s Union and has recently led protests over poor pay and poor working conditions. There has been much misinformation about the circumstances of his abduction, disappearance and re-appearance. Earlier this week he tried to leave Zimbabwe to seek medical attention for the injuries sustained during the abduction. He was prevented from leaving the country by the ZRP. Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) filed an urgent application to challenge this refusal to allow him to leave. This was heard by Justice Happias Zhou, who issued an order on the 24th September interdicting any persons including the police and home affairs from preventing Dr Magombeyi from leaving the country for the purpose of seeking medical treatment.

A further attempt by Dr Magombeyi to leave Zimbabwe on the 24th September, this time armed with a court order interdicting the police from prohibiting him to do so, was also unsuccessful. The police have subsequently filed an urgent chamber application seeking a “correction of the court order” which interdicted them from preventing the release and travel of Dr Magombeyi. This will be heard on an urgent basis on the 25th September. It is important to note that this urgent application does not suspend the operation of Justice Zhou’s court order issued yesterday. ZLHR have filed a counter application arguing that the ZRP application should not be heard because they are in contempt of court. The ZLHR team is comprised of Jeremiah Bamu, Roselyn Hanzi, Alec Muchadehama and Beatrice Mtetwa.

The Magombeyi family are concerned for the well-being of Dr Magombeyi. His father, Kingstone Magombeyi,  confirms that he is very weak and suspects that he may have been poisoned. The ZRP acting as an agent of the Zimbabwean government are violating his right to health and freedom of movement.

We encourage the Zimbabwean government to respect the rule of law. We call on the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to intervene in this and other similar and concerning human rights violations which are occurring in Zimbabwe at this time.

25 September 2019