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Zimbabwe Opposition Seeks Z$1 Trillion Judgement Against Officials

The faction of Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change headed by Morgan Tsvangirai said it will file a record $1 trillion (US$7.3 million) lawsuit Wednesday against Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi, Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri and other senior police officials for wrongful arrest.

The suit is being filed in connection with the extended detention between March and July of some 33 opposition officials and activists who were accused of involvement in firebombings of police posts and other targets early this year.

The opposition faction sued Mohadi, Chihuri and three other top police officers last week for $504 billion, charging that they defied a Harare high court order in February when they broke up a political rally in the Highfield section of the capital.

Attorney Alec Muchadehama, representing the activists, said his clients seek damages alleging wrongful arrest and detention by the officials, torture and assault at the hands of police, their deprivation of liberty and special damages including hospital bills.

Treatment costs for just one activist, Morgan Komichi, still under police guard at the West End Clinic in Harare, were said to have exceeded Z$500 million dollars. The 33 MDC activists include Paul Madzore, member of parliament for Glenview.

He and others were accused not only of planning or carrying out the firebombings but of conspiring or training to carry out other acts of terrorism or violence.

They have denied all charges and High Court Judge Lawrence Kamocha reproached police recently for fabricating evidence in the case, ordering the release all but two of the accused. He said police had created two fictional witnesses to link the activists to an alleged South African terror training camp that was also nonexistent.

Attorney Otto Saki of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the suit is important for the record.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...