MDC-Alliance vice-chairperson Tendai Biti is now seeking the intervention of the High Court to get back his passport after the magistrates’ court denied him access to it.
Biti is on trial on charges of violating the Electoral Act after he allegedly announced that MDC-Alliance leader Mr Nelson Chamisa had won the July 30 presidential poll.
His lawyer Mr Harrison Nkomo told The Herald yesterday that the defence is challenging the lower court’s decision at the High Court.
“We are working on the appeal papers and will soon be approaching the higher court for relief,” said Mr Nkomo, without giving finer details of the appeal.
The defence applied for momentary release of Biti’s passport for him to travel to South Africa to seek treatment at a counselling service unit.
Mr Nkomo said Biti was also supposed to attend a Pan-African Lawyers Union conference in Tunisia after being seconded by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.
But magistrate Mr Francis Mapfumo threw out the request, saying it was too risky to release Biti’s passport because it was the only surety to secure his attendance.
He said it was on record that Biti once skipped the country to Zambia, seeking asylum, hence if granted the relief, he may slink away.
Biti, who is also Harare East Member of National Assembly, is facing another charge of border jumping.
He said he needed to travel to South Africa for post-traumatic stress disorder treatment and counselling, claiming torture at the hands of security agents when he was arrested trying to seek sanctuary in neighbouring Zambia last month.
Biti wanted to have his passport back until October 23.
He is expected back in court next week on Wednesday for routine remand.