No fuel to ferry prisoners

HARARE - The Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) yesterday failed to take prisoners to court due to an acute fuel crunch, forcing the postponement of trials at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts.

ZPCS spokesperson, Elizabeth Banda, confirmed the failure to transport prisoners from remand jails to the courts.

“We are currently working on the situation,” she told the Daily News.

“The prisoners could not attend court hearings today because we did not have fuel to ferry them there.

“We will also liaise with officials at the magistrates’ courts to resolve the confusion the situation might have caused. Our mandate is to make sure prisoners are present for court proceedings.”

Rights groups savaged the State for undermining its own tough-on-crime agenda by ‘‘sitting on its hands’’ as the justice system crumbles, forcing officers to baby-sit prisoners who cannot fit in bursting cells.

Tawanda Zhuwarara, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights senior lawyer, said the crisis in the prison system has now infected the whole justice system

“The new constitutional dispensation demands that all those who are detained are afforded an opportunity to interrogate such detention against the law and standards associated with the administration of justice,” Zhuwarara said.

“Section 50 (5) (e) of the Constitution affords every person detained their right to challenge the lawfulness of their detention in person before a court and if that detention is declared unlawful, the accused person must be released promptly.”

He said detainees deserved a chance to challenge their detention.

“It is common cause that one cannot effectively challenge any detention without being present in court,” he said. “So the State has a direct constitutional duty to ensure prisoners have access to justice delivery system.”

Zhuwarara added: “The transportation of prisoners to the courts is therefore no trifling matter and should be taken seriously by all those concerned”.

Comments (4)

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CARTRIDGEGALLERY - 18 March 2014

Pardon them again and forget about fuel shortage to ferry prisoners

Wings of change - 18 March 2014

Zvakaoma

charles - 19 March 2014

Zimondi is getting 200litres a day ngaapeka prisons fuel moda neyekumapurazi enyu here? these pple are abusing maresources even maprojects anoita kuti vasungwa vawane chikafu vakavharisa

Chidondova - 19 March 2014

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