Indian tourists in jail for filing fake immigration declaration

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By Staff Reporter

FIVE Indian tourists will remain in jail after the High court dismissed their application challenging further detention.

Tamas Vohora, Shabbirbhai Shaikh, Asif Shaik Ashab Daula and Mohmedriyaz Yakub Pir were arrested in January this year on allegations of violating the Immigration Act after they reportedly filed a false immigration declaration.

On their initial court appearance, they were all granted bail before they were ordered to surrender their passports and continue staying at a Belveder lodge where they had been arrested.

Before they could be released, the Chief Immigration officer, Respect Gono applied for a warrant of further detention which the group approached the High Court challenging.

They argued they were not illegal immigrants and had lawfully entered Zimbabwe.

“It is the applicant’s case that invoking the warrant of further detention is erroneous as the applicants are not prohibited immigrants and their continued detention is wrongful and unlawful necessitating the urgent intervention of the court as it is also bad publicity for the country,” wrote their lawyer.

Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe, Gono and Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services Commissioner General were cited as respondents.

The judge said releasing the five was prejudicial to the State because they had no permanent address.

“The balance of convenience weighs in favour of the respondents. In this case the State’s interests would be at stake if the applicants were granted bail conditions to the address where the owners of the accommodation have distanced themselves from having any booking for the applicants to be released into for the moment.

“The applicants are essentially people with no fixed abode as they have also said they failed to get a hold of the agent whom they have been communicating with in organizing their holiday and can no longer recall the details of the place he had allegedly booked them into and they realised they had been duped.

“Accordingly this application be and is hereby dismissed.”