Pfebve demands $70m torture damages from Mugabe

HARARE - Elliot Pfebve, MDC parliamentary candidate for Bindura North, is demanding $70 million in torture damages awarded by a United States court against President Robert Mugabe.

Pfebve said his lawyers in the US were pursuing the damages suit with Mugabe after a default judgment was handed down when the  now 89-year-old leader failed to attend trial in 2003 in a Manhattan Federal Court over political violence in the run-up to the June 2000 parliamentary elections.

Judge Victor Marrero of the US District Court of New York handed down his final judgment in the case brought against Zanu PF by victims of political violence.

The plaintiffs in the case ? Adella Chiminya Tachiona, Efridah Pfebve, Pfebve, Evelyn Masaiti, and Maria Stevens ? brought the civil suit against Mugabe, Stan Mudenge, and other senior leaders of Zanu PF, as well as against the party itself, under the Alien Tort Claims Act.

This Act allows non-US citizens to seek redress in the US courts for claims originating outside the US.
As with his other decisions in the long-running, and ground-breaking, case, Judge Marrero’s final judgment was substantial.

His judgment analyses in depth the extent to which the Zimbabwean constitution and laws were violated by Zanu PF, and found that the party “systematically hounded its political opponents through repeated acts of terror and violence” in the run-up to the 2000 elections.

Judge Marrero’s judgment agreed almost entirely with an earlier recommendation of damages submitted by Magistrate Judge Francis.

The final damages awarded against the defendants total $71 250 453, comprising compensatory damages of $20 250 453, and punitive damages of $51 000 000.

This judgment was final and enforceable.

“This matter is outstanding as Mugabe is still to pay my compensation money according to the court judgment,” Pfebve said.

“We are beginning to demand that money as I am back in the country.

“He has to pay the money to us as we have a court judgment.”

Mugabe did not oppose the case nor did he send any representative.

“This case took me to the United Nations in Geneva in October 2000 to convince the UN to take a combative stand against Human rights abusers in Zimbabwe,” Pfebve said.

Pfebve returned home in April to participate in the harmonised elections as the MDC parliamentary candidate for Bindura North Constituency after staying in the United Kingdom for 10 years.

He squared off against Kenneth Musanhi of Zanu PF.


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