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Chombo lawsuit in transgender's trial begins

by Staff reporter
28 Jul 2017 at 01:22hrs | Views
THE civil trial involving a Bulawayo transgender woman, Ricky Eugene Nathanson, who is suing Home Affairs Minister Ignatius Chombo, the police and a man who reported her for allegedly using a ladies' toilet at a city hotel, has kicked off at the Bulawayo High Court.

The courtroom, which was packed with members of the gay community on Wednesday, resembled a fashion show as Nathanson's sympathisers spotted fancy hairstyles and dressing.

Nathanson (51), who is thought by police to be a man, wore all kinds of make-up, a brown hairpiece and make-up.

When she arrived at the High Court, she was accompanied by four women and was looking elegant in a tailored women's black suit with a matching pair of stiletto glass shoes.

Nathanson is demanding $2,7 million from Home Affairs Minister Chombo, the officer-in-charge of ZRP Bulawayo Central Chief Inspector Enock Masimba, Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri and Farai Mteliso, the person who reported her to the police leading to her arrest in 2004 on charges of criminal nuisance.

He was subsequently acquitted by the then Bulawayo magistrate Mr Abednico Ndebele who ruled that prosecutors had failed to prove their case. The magistrate said it was not a crime for a man to enter a toilet for females or the other way round.

Nathanson, who is being represented by Advocate Perpetua Dube as instructed by Phulu and Ncube Legal Practitioners, is suing the defendants for violating her constitutional rights and is also demanding damages caused by the unlawful arrest, detention, malicious prosecution and emotional distress and contumelia, which is a deliberately offensive act or deliberate disrespect.

When Nathanson, who runs a modelling agency in the city, took to the witness stand, she told Justice Francis Bere that she suffered humiliation and emotional distress when police arrested and detained her before forcing her to undergo gender verification at the United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH).

"On January 16 in 2014, I was publicly arrested by six police officers in riot gear and removed from the bar and taken to Bulawayo Central Police Station.

The arrest was at the instigation of Mteliso herein who acted without just, reasonable or probable cause, and maliciously," she said.

Nathanson said Mteliso made a false report to the police after he tried and failed to extort money from her. "I was escorted by police to Bulawayo Central Police Station where they forced me to strip as way of verifying my gender and I was subjected to insults and slurs by police officers. While in custody, I was also taken to the United Bulawayo Hospitals where I was again forced to strip and undergo medical examination," she said.

"I was subjected to humiliating questioning, viewing and morbid curiosity by medical personnel at the hospital."

Nathanson said she was detained for 48 hours before being taken to court.

"The conduct by the defendants was extremely abusive, malicious, indifferent and uncaring and therefore exemplary damages must be awarded as a result of my unlawful arrest and malicious prosecution. I was deeply humiliated and injured emotionally wherefore I claim as against all the defendants jointly and severally the one paying the others to be absolved," she said.

According to court papers, Nathanson is demanding from each defendant $100 000 for wrongful arrest, $100 000 for wrongful detention, $100 000 for malicious prosecution, $300 000 for emotional distress and contumelia, $100 000 for exemplary damages and $2 million for constitutional damages.

Source - chronicle