18 May 2003

Zimbabwe: Meldrum Deported

THE government on Friday deported Guardian correspondent, Andrew Meldrum, in clear defiance of a High Court order granted earlier the same day interdicting him from being deported and ordering his release

High Court judge, Justice Charles Hungwe, had ordered immigration officials to produce Meldrum, who they had served with a deportation order after he was declared a prohibited immigrant, in court on Friday afternoon. They did not do so

Meldrum was bundled onto an Air Zimbabwe plane bound for London on Friday night despite the fact that copies of the order had been shown to Air Zimbabwe officials

The High Court order was served on senior immigration officers and Minister of Home Affairs, Kembo Mohadi's staff at 2.00pm and 2.10pm respectively

After immigration officers failed to produce Meldrum in the afternoon as directed by High Court, Justice Hungwe issued a further order at 8.15pm ordering the immigration department to produce him

Justice Hungwe also instructed Lois Matanda-Moyo of the Civil Division in the Attorney General's Office, to accompany Meldrum's lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, to serve the order on immigration officials at the airport

But Matanda-Moyo refused to accompany Mtetwa to the airport.

At the airport, Mtetwa tried to serve the order on the immigration officer on duty, but she jumped out of her booth and ran away when she saw Mtetwa coming.

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