Human rights activists and Zimbabweans living abroad have started a campaign against Lufthansa airline after it was used by the German government to deport a former Zimbabwe soldier who was arrested upon setting foot at the Harare International Airport and is suspected to have been tortured for the past three days. Source: www.zimbabwejournalists.com
By a Correspondent for Association of Zimbabwean Journalists
– Human rights activists and Zimbabweans living abroad have started a campaign against Lufthansa airline after it was used by the German government to deport a former Zimbabwe soldier who was arrested upon setting foot at the Harare International Airport and is suspected to have been tortured for the past three days
Farai Robert Mutyambizi, 28, deserted the Zimbabwe National Army and went to seek asylum in German. The German authorities, known for being tough on asylum seekers, put him in detention and deported him back to Zimbabwe where all his papers were handed to government officials at the airport, prompting his immediate arrest.
Mutyambizi’s family learnt yesterday that he was being held at the Harare Central Police Station and there were fears that he was being tortured, especially after being returned to the country at a sensitive time when the government of Zimbabwe, accused of paranoia, is attacking former colonial master, Britain and her allies of continued meddling in the country’s internal politics. A source in the police force tipped the family about their son’s plight at the police station.
Mutyambizi’s plight comes hard-on-the-heels of an announcement by the British government that it will soon be resuming enforced deportations of failed Zimbabwean asylum seekers.
The British authorities argue not everyone from Zimbabwe is in danger of being tortured or arrested by the Zimbabwe government while on the other hand lawyers representing the failed refugees say the mere fact that their clients tried to seek asylum is enough to warrant bad treatment by Harare for they are accused of being “sell-outs”, tarnishing the image of the country.
Speaking last night from his Leicester home, Julius Sai Mutyambizi-Dewa, who is Farai’s elder brother and former secretary of the Morgan Tsvangirai MDC in the United Kingdom, said the family was making frantic efforts to try and secure the services of a lawyer to represent their brother. The family says Farai is being held unlawfully by the Zimbabwe authorities, long known for their contempt of Zimbabweans serving in the British army and deserting soldiers who now live abroad.
“Our main concern is that no-one has seen him since he was handed over to the authorities three days ago. We are trying all we can to secure the services of a lawyer so that he can be released,” said Mutyambizi-Dewa. “His plight could have been made worse by the documents that were in his possession upon deportation and these include papers about the British army. This kind of thing cannot be allowed to continue.”
Another brother, Tendai, who is a British soldier was besides himself yesterday thinking it was him who had landed his brother into problems in Harare.
“It is me they want. I will blame anything that happens to him on the German government. They will now probably charge him with high treason, I do not know but I think the right thing is for me to get my uniform and go there so they can arrest me because they are torturing the wrong person. If they kill me that will be my destiny,” said Tendai.
Meanwhile activists in London, upon hearing the news of Farai’s detention, have started working on plans to start today a campaign against Lufthansa the German airlines which took Farai to South Africa for onward transportation to Harare.
“We have long been saying that it is risky to send people back to Zimbabwe but look now at what has happened. The British government is soon to start deporting failed asylum seekers to Zimbabwe. Like Thomas in the Bible they want to believe only by seeing the wounds and in this case, probably death. We are calling on everyone to unite and fight these deportations and the double standards by Britain and her European counterparts,” said one Clive Mwenengeni.
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