Zimbabwean lawyers have filed a court application seeking to compel police to investigate the alleged abduction of three members of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Nelson Chamisa.
In a Facebook post, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said, “On behalf of families of Harare West legislator Hon. Joana Mamombe, Cecelia Chimbiri and Netsai Marowa, ZLHR has filed a Habeas Corpus application seeking to compel Zimbabwe Republic Police members to investigate and determine the whereabouts of the three missing persons within 12 hours of the granting of a court order.”
According to Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute, “a writ of habeas corpus is used to bring a prisoner or other detainee (e.g. institutionalized mental patient) before the court to determine if the person's imprisonment or detention is lawful. A habeas petition proceeds as a civil action against the State agent (usually a warden) who holds the defendant in custody.”
Mamombe, Chimbiri and Marowa were among several MDC activists who staged a protest in Harare on Wednesday, demanding immediate government action on providing food to some Zimbabweans currently struggling to make ends meet due to the country’s extended lockdown.
The Zimbabwe Republic Police claims that it did not make any arrests of MDC activists although police spokesperson Paul Nyathi initially told the state-controlled Herald newspaper that some of the protesters were in custody.
The United States has urged the Zimbabweans authorities to investigate and search for the missing MDC activists.