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'Abducted' and released Zimbabwean doctor to be treated in South Africa

by ZimLive
24 Sep 2019 at 14:46hrs | Views
Further treatment ... Dr Peter Magombeyi (circled) is seen with friends and family on the night he was dumped before his hospitalisation
The High Court on Tuesday intervened and ordered police to allow a doctors' union leader who was abducted by suspected state security agents for five days last week to travel to South Africa for further treatment.

Justice Happious Zhou granted an urgent chamber application by Dr Peter Magombeyi, the president of the Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA), who was being prevented from leaving his hospital bed by police.

The judge granted an interim relief sought by Magombeyi interdicting police from "directly or indirectly" preventing him from "leaving Zimbabwe for the purposes of accessing medical services in the Republic of South Africa."

Justice Zhou also ruled that police had violated Magombeyi's right to freedom of movement as enshrined in section 66(2)(c) of the constitution and his right to health care in section 76(1) and (3) by blocking his request to seek urgent medical attention in South Africa.

Authorities have claimed that Magombeyi faked his abduction as part of an opposition plot to discredit President Emmerson Mnangagwa's regime.

Magombeyi told reporters after he was dumped in the bush 35km northwest of Harare, in the village of Nyabira, that he remembered being held in a basement, but not much after that.

The doctor, who has been at the Avenues Clinic in Harare since he was freed on September 19, suffered certain injuries to the head that require further treatment abroad, according to doctors treating him.

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) on Tuesday filed the urgent chamber application with the High Court seeking Magombeyi's immediate evacuation after police rejected an earlier request.

The lawyers, in a letter to the Criminal Investigations Department, said: "We write to advise that the team of medical experts attending to Dr Peter Magombeyi has recommended that he receives further medical services which are not locally available in Zimbabwe.

"To this end, the family has made arrangements for his immediate evacuation to a medical facility outside the country."

The CID, according to the ZLHR, turned down the request prompting them to seek the court's intervention.

In the court application in which Police Commissioner General Godwin Matanga and Home Affairs Minister Cain Mathema are cited as respondents, the lawyers attached an affidavit by Magombeyi's father, Kingstone, as well as a letter from his doctors explaining the urgency of his situation.

In a letter dated September 23, 2019, Magombeyi's doctors said the 26-year-old had "significant neurocognitive and psychological dysfunction" and required "further functional brain imaging and further toxicological evaluation" services which are not available in Zimbabwe.

Magombeyi'a father said he was troubled that police had literally taken over his son's life making it impossible for the family to make their own plans.

He said his son's freedom of movement was now being curtailed with family and colleagues having to go through a lot of hustle in order to see the doctor.

"I am acting in my own interests and in the interests of my son, Peter Gabriel Magombeyi who at present is unable to act on his own on account of his current medical state," he said in an affidavit.

Senior Magombeyi went on to narrate that after he received information regarding his son's whereabouts, he rushed to the scene but found his son had already been taken by the police.

He said the police went on to deny the family and lawyers access to Magombeyi further raising discomfort.

The father said after his son was brought to them, they went to hospital where doctors advised that he was to be admitted.

He also told the court that he had hired private security guards for his son but police brought their own team which was now camped at the hospital.

"While also admitted at the hospital, the police also brought their own team of doctors to examine and extract pathological samples" without seeking the hospitalised doctor or the family's consent, Kingstone Magombeyi said.

He added: "I'm advised that this process was in violation of my son's constitutional rights. They did not prescribe any treatment for him. They just collected his samples and handed them to the police and went away."

He said doctors have advised that his son's condition needs urgent attention or will get worse.

Magombeyi's colleagues believe he was abducted by state agents in an attempt to break a strike by doctors which has been ongoing since September 3.

His disappearance on September 14 sparked a walkout by other health professionals and street marches by doctors to President Mnangagwa's office and parliament.

The government response has been that either Magombeyi faked the abduction or there is a third force actively trying to discredit the government, while denying any responsibility.

Source - ZimLive