The Zambian High Court had on Wednesday night issued an order to stop Tendai Biti’s deportation, but Zambian immigration and police refused to accept the court papers.
• Editor’s note: This is a developing story. We will bring you updates as more information becomes available.
LUSAKA – Zimbabwean police took former finance minister and opposition leader Tendai Biti into custody on Thursday after Zambian authorities rejected his bid for asylum and deported him, his lawyer said.
Police in Zimbabwe were looking for Biti and eight other opposition figures for allegedly fomenting violence following a disputed national election in which President Emmerson Mnangagwa was declared the winner.
“An hour ago Biti was handed over to Zimbabwean law enforcement officers and as we speak he is on Zimbabwean soil,” Biti’s Zambian lawyer Gilbert Phiri told Reuters by phone.
Phiri said the Zambian High Court had on Wednesday night issued an order to stop Biti’s deportation but Zambian immigration and police refused to accept the court papers.
Biti had sought asylum when he tried to enter Zambia through the Chirundu border post, 350 km (220 miles) north of the capital Harare, but his application was rejected.
He was then moved to a school near another border crossing in Kariba before being handed over to Zimbabwean police, Phiri said.
“We tried to serve the court order on the immigration officers who were keeping him at a school under police protection but they refused to take it,” said Phiri.