Missing journalist and pro-democracy campaigner Itai Dzamara’s family lawyers have filed an urgent High Court application challenging the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) ban on a public demonstration organised by the family to put pressure on the authorities to find him.
Police banned the demonstration without explanation last week and threatened violence against family and members of the public who planned to march in central Harare.
“Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZHLR) on Sunday 06 March 2016 filed an urgent chamber application at the Harare High Court on behalf of Patson Dzamara representing the Dzamara family seeking to interdict ZRP Officer Commanding Harare Province Chief Superintendent Saunyama, Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri and Home Affairs Minister Ignatius Chombo from interfering with a march organised by the Dzamara family to mark one year since Itai Dzamara, a pro-democracy activist and freelance journalist was abducted and disappeared,” ZHLR said in a statement. “Patson filed the application after Superintendent Saunyama without just or lawful cause on Thursday 03 March 2016 denied the Dzamara family authority to hold a peaceful march concerning the disappearance of his brother who has been missing since 09 March 2015.”
Dzamara was kidnapped in his Glen View neighbourhood by five armed men on March 9 2015 and forcibly made to disappear. He has not been seen nor heard from by his family ever since, with some claiming, without providing evidence, that he had been murdered.
The government has defied court orders to find him and report progress of investigations to his family.
Dzamara became a nuisance to the authorities after leading street demonstrations demanding the resignation of Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe for failing to run the economy. His disappearance triggered a diplomatic standoff between Zimbabwe and major Western powers, including the United States and European Union.
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