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Woman who took part in violent attacks on white farmers in Zimbabwe denied UK asylum

Woman who took part in violent attacks on white farmers in Zimbabwe denied UK asylum

By David Gardner
Last updated at 7:52 PM on 16th September 2010

A woman who admitted taking part in savage evictions of white farmers from
their homes in Zimbabwe lost her bid for asylum after a High Court judge
accused her of ‘crimes against humanity.’

Mr Justice Ouseley threw out the widowed mother-of-two’s appeal to remain in
the UK after she confessed to beating up ten people during two land

The judge said the state-sponsored mob violence, which saw white famers’
land seized and shared out among President Robert Mugabe’s cronies, was akin
to genocide.

‘We are satisfied that the two farm invasions were crimes against humanity,’
he said, likening the 39-year-old woman’s role to a concentration camp guard
who followed Nazi orders during the Holocaust.

The woman, who cannot be named, came to Britain illegally in 2002 and did
not claim asylum until six years later.

Her bid for refugee status was rejected on the grounds that her own violent
actions in Zimbabwe disqualified her from humanitarian protection in this

She admitted to being part of a gang of thugs from Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party
who invaded two white-owned farms intent on causing maximum terror and
driving away black workers.

The woman, referred to only as ‘SK”, agreed she had beaten up to ten people
whilst their homes burned, ‘inflicting enough pain to get them to run away.’

She said that on one occasion, she beat a woman so badly she thought she
would die.

However, she insisted she had taken part in the raids under duress to prove
her loyalty to Mugabe’s regime and she had never intended to kill anyone.

Mr Justice Ouseley, sitting at the Upper Tribunal Immigration and Asylum
Chamber said the farm invasions were ‘part of widespread, systematic attacks’
against white farmers and their black workers, carried out with the full
knowledge of the regime ‘as a deliberate act of policy’.

The intention behind the ‘obviously inhumane’ invasions ‘was to cause great
suffering or inflict serious physical or mental injury’ on victims and cow
them into never returning to their homes or opposing the Mugabe regime, he

‘The aim was achieved by the mob violence of beatings administered to men
and women, burnings and lootings in a deliberately brutal and terrifying

‘They were undertaken for political reasons, the suppression of perceived
opposition and for the financial advancement of the regime members and
supporters,’ he added.

There was also a ‘clear racial element’ to the attacks, the judge said.

Zimbabwe had 4,500 white commercial farmers and agriculture was the
cornerstone of the country’s economy before the Mugabe government’s
controversial land seizures began a decade ago. Of the 300 farms left, at
least 152 of them have reportedly been targetted for eviction with foreign
farmers at the top of the list to go.

The Tribunal accepted that the woman was a ‘lesser participant’ in the
bloodshed and others were even more brutal.

However, she took ‘a voluntary, even if reluctant’ part.

Even though not a ringleader, the same could be said of concentration camp
guards who ‘make a substantial contribution to genocide’ despite their
peripheral role, said the judge.

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