A High Court in Zimbabwe has ordered the Minister of Home Affairs and police to pay a compensatory amount of $25, 000 following the unlawful arrest of a transgender woman and activist, Rick Eugene Nathanson.
Ms. Nathanson was arrested in 2014 for wearing female clothes and using the female restroom in a hotel in Bulawayo. According to her lawyer, she was charged with criminal nuisance.
“This has been a long, emotional rollercoaster for me. I have waited almost 5 years for this moment. I am elated,” Ms. Nathanson told the BBC
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“This is an incredibly life-changing decision. It is a great moment for Zimbabwe. It affirms and recognizes the fundamental human rights, freedoms, and dignity of all citizens,” she added.
This victory has been described by many as progressive, citing how conservative Zimbabwean laws are on the issues relating to transgender.
While considering the recent judgement in my favor, I thought I might just retweet this! https://t.co/JNxtkfnVTQ
— Rikki Nathanson (@rickynathanson) November 17, 2019
During the ruling, Justice Francis Bere said, “The quantification of damages is not meant to enrich the victim but to try and salvage some kind of dignity for the pain endured by the victim.”
The court said the plaintiff’s arrest was a violation of her constitutional rights as a citizen.
“For three days, the plaintiff (Nathanson) in this case was not only deprived of her liberty but was subjected to forced anatomical examination in the most crude and naked manner by adventurous members of the police.
“As if that was not enough, she was then subjected to further invasive examination by two doctors at two different medical institutions all because of her transgender status, something that she did not invite upon herself,” ruled Justice Bere.
He finally added that transgender citizens have a place in society and their rights ought to be recognized and respected.