Court orders Econet to release GPS data in abduction saga

By Staff reporter | 03 Sep 2020 at 06:25hrs
THE High Court has given Econet Wireless a 48-hour ultimatum within which to re-lease cellphone records pertaining to the three MDC activists' movements, tracked through their mobile phones on the day they were allegedly abducted by State security agents.

The order was made on Wednesday by Justice Clement Phiri following an application by the opposition activists Joanah Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova.

"The respondent (Econet Wireless) be and is hereby ordered to, within 48 hours from the date of this order, deliver to the applicants (Mamombe, Chimbiri and Marova) through their legal practitioners, cell-phone records for the period between May 13, 2020 and June 9, 2020 together with cellular phone triangulation, cell tower tri-angulation or GPS tracking data for lines 07*****, 07***** and 07***** for the same period," Justice Phiri ruled.

The trio was reportedly abducted by State security agents on May 13, 2020, leading to a worldwide condemnation of the incident which government dismissed as stage-managed.

Instead, the State charged the women for falsifying their abduction. However, as the trio's trial date was set by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), on charges of publishing false statements prejudicial to the State, they approached the High Court for an order to compel Econet Wireless, whose mobile network they use and has the GPS tracking system, to release the May 13, 2020 records, saying they will show how they were allegedly tracked down by State security agents, leading to their abduction.

The three women, who are currently out of custody on $10 000 bail each, argue that they were arrested by the police at a COVID-19 checkpoint along Samora Machel Avenue after staging a demonstration in Warren Park, Harare.



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