Courts and Law

Police to pay $4.3 million to shooting victim of January 2019 protests

Story Highlights
  • The judge said Kelvin was an “innocent bystander” as protesters clashed with police during the protests.

THE Zimbabwe Republic Police has been ordered to pay $4,3 million, about US$34 000 at the auction rate, to the family of a Kelvin Tinashe Choto (22), a footballer who was shot dead in Chitunwgiza during the fuel protests in January last year.

The 22-year-old was shot in the head, one of at least a dozen people killed in a violent crackdown by security forces on protests against a dramatic increase in fuel prices.

Dozens of Zimbabweans were shot. Others were hunted down in their homes at night, with soldiers and masked people in plainclothes dragging them away, severely beating them and leaving them for dead.

High Court judge Justice Edith Mushore ruled that Choto’s killing was unlawful and awarded damages to his father Julius Choto and widow, Varaidzo Chiyanike, who were represented by Fiona Iliff, from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

According to the award, $2 016 000 was for the loss of support for the minor child, Anenyasha Janelle Choto, $2 016 000 for loss of support for widow Varaidzo Chiyanike, $168 000 nervous shock and trauma for Varaidzo Chiyanike, $168 000 nervous shock and trauma for Kevin’s father and interest on the total sum of $4 638 000.

A family member of Kelvin Tinashe Choto reacts, during his funeral in Chitungwiza, on Jan, 19, 2019. Before the family of Kelvin Tinashe Choto knew he had been killed, social media in Zimbabwe was circulating a photo of his battered body lying on the reception counter of a local police station. Angry protesters had left him there. The 22-year-old was shot in the head, one of at least a dozen people killed in a violent crackdown by security. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

The judge said Kelvin was an “innocent bystander” as protesters clashed with police during the protests.

While some victims of the shooting were political activists and members of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), others, like Choto, were just the wrong place at the wrong time.

A captain at a small soccer club in Chitungwiza, Choto had been planning to travel to neighboring South Africa the following week to look for better-paying teams.

Human rights organisations say State security agents killed 22 people, with those implicated in the fatal shootings are still to be charged.

The family sued the police, the Home Affairs minister and Constable Rachid Siri, who fired the fatal shot. ■

Source
NewsDay
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