ZimRights boss gets bail

HARARE - A High Court judge has granted bail to ZimRights director Okay Machisa after ruling that a magistrate who previously denied him freedom was “misdirected”.

Justice Felistas Chatukuta yesterday ordered Machisa to surrender title deeds to an immovable property with a “considerable value” as well as pay $500 cash.

Machisa should report to police once every week as part of the bail conditions.

“I am of the view and firm conclusion that the court aquo misdirected itself, hence the decision is set aside. However, I am uncomfortable granting bail without the appellant providing security of a considerable value,” said Chatukuta.

Machisa’s lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, filed an appeal with the High Court after magistrate Tendai Mahwe denied the human rights defender bail on January 16.

Mahwe had ruled that Machisa’s release would cause public outcry as the case was of national interest.

Mtetwa told the High Court that Mahwe’s decision was based on political rhetoric. Chatukuta’s ruling brought to an end Machisa’s battle for freedom after spending two weeks in remand prison.

Prosecutors allege Machisa together with Dorcas Shereni, Leo Chamahwinya, Farai Bhani and Tatenda Chinaka produced fake copies of voters’ registration certificates between May last year and this month, in a bid to tarnish the image of the Registrar General’s office and cause “bloodshed”.

The other four remain in custody after the High Court turned down their bail application.

They are all accused of forgery and conspiracy to commit fraud or publishing false statements prejudicial to the state. - Tendai Kamhungira

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