Caged Indian tourists battle for freedom

The Indian nationals have filed an urgent High Court application for a mandatory interdict against further detention

FIVE Indian nationals have filed an urgent High Court application for a mandatory interdict against further detention after they were arrested on allegations of violating the Immigration Act.

The Indian nationals, Tamas Sahidahemad Vahora, Shabbirbhai G. Shaikh, Asif Daood Shaikh, Ashab Ibrahim Daula and Mohmediyaz Yakub Pir arrived in the country on January 31, as tourists on holiday visas.

Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe, Chief Immigration Officer and Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services Commissioner General Moses Chihobvu were cited as respondents in the application.

According to court documents, the applicants were arrested for contravening the Immigration Act by filing a false declaration after they were found staying at a lodge different to the one on the declaration form.

They appeared at the Harare Magistrates Courts where they were granted $20 000 bail. They were ordered to surrender their passports and to continue staying at the lodge from where they were picked up by the police.

“It would appear that the second respondent has invoked the Warrant for Further Detention erroneously as it is meant for prohibited immigrants. Applicants are not prohibited, immigrants. The continued detention of the applicants is wrong and unlawful and would need the urgent intervention of this honourable court,” the application read.

In his founding affidavit written on behalf of the four other Indians, Tamas Sahidahemad Vahora said they settled for another residence in the country after it emerged that they had been duped by their Indian agent who had lied that he had secured a place to stay for them.

“We had, through an Indian agent who had organised the holiday for us, decided to stay at a certain place whose details we can no longer recall. I do not have the paper with the details, they are currently in the possession of prison authorities and I have no access to them,” Vahora said.

“We waited for almost 4 hours trying to get hold of the agent. When it became clear that the agent had duped us, we decided to look for alternative accommodation. We asked around and we were recommended to a lodge in a neighbourhood said to be used by people of Indian origin. We then proceeded to Rest Guest House which is at number 90 Elmont Road, Belvedere, Harare where we managed to secure accommodation.”

The Indians are represented by Munyaradzi Magaya of Maseko Law Chambers.


Related Topics