Biti's illegal arrest case thrown out

2010-10-18 14:22

Harare - An attorney for Zimbabwe's finance minister says the highest court has thrown out his case in which he claims his arrest and detention during 2008 elections was illegal.

Tendai Biti, a former opposition politician and now a key minister, was detained on charges of treason and for claiming victory for the opposition. The treason charge could have been punishable by the death penalty.

The opposition did win, but not by the margin needed to avoid a presidential run-off.

Attorney Lewis Uriri said the Supreme Court dismissed Biti's action against the police because court papers were not handled in time. The slowness of the court system means "authorities can escape liability for abuses of fundamental rights," he said.

Biti says he'll appeal on Monday's ruling.