In Summary
  • Biti, a veteran figure in the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), fled to Zambia on Wednesday, reportedly facing charges at home of inciting post-election violence.

  • Zambian authorities swiftly refused him asylum, but Phiri said Biti's legal team had managed to challenge the decision, keeping him there.

  • But authorities have now ignored the ruling and deported him back to Zimbabwe, Phiri said.

LUSAKA,

Zambian authorities on Thursday deported top Zimbabwe opposition figure Tendai Biti in defiance of a court order after he tried to claim asylum, his lawyer said.

"They have defied the court order to allow him to seek asylum and as I am speaking to you right now he has been handed over to the Zimbabwean police," lawyer Gilbert Phiri told AFP.

CHARGES

Biti, a veteran figure in the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), fled to Zambia on Wednesday, reportedly facing charges at home of inciting post-election violence.

Zambian authorities swiftly refused him asylum, but Phiri said Biti's legal team had managed to challenge the decision, keeping him there.

But authorities have now ignored the ruling and deported him back to Zimbabwe, Phiri said.

"He is on the Zimbabwe side," Phiri confirmed. "This is really embarrassing."

"I am saddened obviously if that is the case. Zambia can certainly do better than that," MDC lawyer Denford Halimani told AFP when asked about the deportation.

Zimbabwean authorities have yet to respond to requests for comment.

The MDC were defeated in last week's historic first elections since Zimbabwe's military ousted Robert Mugabe in November, ending 37 years of iron-fisted rule.

6 KILLED

Mugabe's successor President Emmerson Mnangagwa was declared the winner on Friday by a narrow margin — results the opposition have furiously contested, alleging fraud.

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