Amnesty International slams govt over Magombeyi debacle

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By Anna Chibamu

GLOBAL rights lobby, Amnesty International Wednesday slammed Zimbabwean authorities over attempts to block ailing doctors union leader, Peter Magombeyi from leaving the country to seek further treatment in South Africa.

Magombeyi was allegedly abducted by suspected State agents in Harare more than 10 days ago and later subjected to torture ordeals.

Upon his release, he was admitted at Harare’s Avenues Clinic for six days but his attempts to leave the health institution to seek specialised treatment outside was vehemently blocked by police.

This was until the High Court on Wednesday ordered authorities to stop interfereing with the 26-year-old medical practitioner.

The police action has been condemned by Amnesty International Deputy Regional Director for Southern Africa, Muleya Mwananyanda.

“Cruel denial of travel for medical treatment puts medical union leader’s health at risk,” Mwananyanda said in a statement.

He added, “Not allowing Magombeyi to travel to seek medical treatment outside Zimbabwe is a cruel denial that puts his health at risk.

“That anyone can be treated this way by the state is unbelievable – and is made worse by the fact that he’s already faced a terrible ordeal and abduction. This ill-treatment at the hands of the authorities is now endangering his health.

“Dr. Magombeyi needs urgent medical treatment. The longer he stays in Zimbabwe, the more his health deteriorates. Zimbabwean authorities must immediately allow him to travel wherever he wants to seek medical treatment.”

In an earlier address to the media on Wednesday, information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said police were stopping the doctor from travelling because they were trying to protect him.