High Court orders $150 000 compensation to Jestina Mukoko after her 2008 abduction

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THE High Court has ordered the state to pay $100 000 in terms of compensation to prominent rights defender Jestina Mukoko following her 2008 abduction and torture by state agents.

In a landmark ruling handed down September 27, the High Court further ordered the state to pay a further $50 000 in terms of legal costs incurred during the protracted pursuit of justice by the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) director.

The state has been ordered to settle the total amount by 31 October, 2018.

In a statement, the former ZBC newscaster said she was humbled by the development although saying this will not fully atone for the trauma she went through in the hands of her captors.

“The patrimonial settlement cannot atone for the trauma and suffering that I suffered and went through at the hands of the state security agents who were ruthless, merciless and very evil,” she said.

“It will not make for lost time as my liberty and all other human rights accorded to me by virtue of my being human was unjustifiably curtailed nor will it provide solace for my traumatised family – my mother, son, brothers, sisters in law, extended family, friends and other peace-loving citizens.”

Mukoko was seized from her Norton home by some unidentified armed men 3 December 2008.

Her whereabouts, together with those of two ZPP employees – Broderick Takawira and Pascal Gonzo – who were also abducted later in December 2008, remained unknown until December 24, 2008.

This is the time they first appeared before the Harare Magistrates Court facing as yet unproven allegations of plotting to topple then President Robert Mugabe’s administration through recruiting people to undergo military training in neighbouring Botswana.

During her trial, Mukoko related heartrending ordeals of torture in the hands of her captors over the two weeks period of her disappearance.

These included simulated drowning, being locked in a freezer and being subjected to physical assaults as her tormentors tried to make her confess to the offence.

She later sued the state for the abuses.

The final settlement of a case by arguably Zimbabwe’s best known rights defender comes at a time the new Emmerson Mnangagwa government has opened a probe into the August 1 post-election violence which saw six civilians gunned down by the army during opposition protests.