Zimbabwe judge says doctor can leave country for treatment

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — A Zimbabwean judge on Tuesday ordered police to allow a doctor recuperating after an alleged abduction to seek medical treatment outside the troubled country.

Lawyers and the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association have said the association’s leader, Peter Magombeyi, was freed Thursday after disappearing for several days. His alleged abduction after leading a pay strike led to days of protests by health workers and expressions of concern by diplomats and others.

Dozens of government critics in Zimbabwe have been abducted this year alone, Human Rights Watch and others have said.

Magombeyi has since been in a private hospital, and his lawyers have accused police of camping outside and refusing him permission to leave for neighboring South Africa for urgent specialist treatment.

High Court Judge Happias Zhou ruled that Magombeyi is entitled to travel outside the country for treatment as he is not under arrest.

“The actions of the police are in violation of his right to liberty and freedom of movement. He has a right to access health services anywhere he wants,” said Jeremiah Bamu, one of the doctor’s lawyers.

Zimbabwe’s health sector, like its economy, is in crisis. Many services are unavailable due to collapsed infrastructure, lack of medicines or unavailability of doctors and nurses who say they can no longer afford transport to report for work.

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