Zimbabwe opposition leader Biti in custody after Zambia deports him- lawyer

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Ttendai Biti

Zambian authorities deported top Zimbabwe opposition figure Tendai Biti, rejecting his claim for asylum after he fled allegations of inciting post-election protests.
Police in Zimbabwe were looking for Biti and eight other opposition figures for allegedly fomenting violence following a disputed national election in which President Emmerson Mnangagwa was declared the winner.
Six people were killed last week in an army crackdown on post-election protests against the victory by Mnangagwa’s ruling ZANU-PF party. Mnangagwa’s main rival, opposition leader Nelson Chamisa, has accused the government of clamping down on members of his party.
Biti, whose People’s Democratic Party had formed an election alliance with Chamisa’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), had been in hiding since last week and had feared for his life, his Zimbabwean lawyer Nqobizitha Mlilo said.
The UN’s refugee agency said it was “gravely concerned about reports of the forced return” of Biti, an internationally-respected finance minister in Zimbabwe’s 2009-2013 power-sharing government.
But the aftermath of the polls has been marred by allegations by rights groups as well as the MDC of a crackdown on opposition members, including beatings and arrests.
International monitors praised the conduct of the election itself, although EU observers said Mnangagwa benefited from an “un-level playing field” and a degree of voter intimidation.

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