'Detaining suspects more than 48hrs unconstitutional'

HARARE - Kumbirai Hodzi, deputy Attorney General (AG) has said police should not detain people for more than 48 hours before presenting them before the courts.

He said detaining a suspect beyond 48 hours was a gross violation of human rights.

Hodzi appeared before the parliamentary thematic committee on Human Rights chaired by MDC Senator Patrick Chitaka.

He was giving oral evidence on behalf of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) on the state of justice delivery system in the country.

Johannes Tomana, the Prosecutor General, heads the NPA, which is responsible for all criminal prosecutions in the country.

“People should not be detained for more than 48 hours without going to trial,” Hodzi said.

“The NPA office does not support the holding of individuals for more than 48 hours unless it is very necessary to enable police to carry out further investigations.”

He said the NPA was conducting workshops with its law officers to make them understand provisions of the new Constitution and to uphold human rights law.

“We are engaged in extensive training programmes for our law officers to understand the contents of the Constitution. The Prosecutor General Johannes Tomana wants his officers to stick to the letter and spirit of the Constitution and protecting the public rights,” Hodzi said.

He also expressed concern at mothers doing prison time with their children.

“It is a concern for us that mothers are going to jail with their infants and being subjected to the penal system,” Hodzi said.

“We are holding strategic meetings with prison officers as it is one of the topical issues that we are dealing with.”

Hodzi told the legislators that the NPA was an independent body which was carrying out its work without fear or favour.

At the present moment, the three deputy AGs including Prince Machaya and Nelson Dias were reporting to Tomana, the Prosecutor General, who was the former AG.

He also bemoaned the scraping of retention allowances for law officers working in the NPA’s office.

“It is matter of concern to us this issue of retention allowance as it goes a long way in motivating our law officers,” he said.

“We are battling to motivate them since the money was scrapped.  We have consulted the minister and permanent secretary on this matter so that these allowances can be restored.”

Last year, government stopped paying monthly skills retention allowances of between $150 and $400 to magistrates, law officers, prosecutors and other legal officers in various ministries and departments.

 

Comments (5)

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GALLERYCARTRIDGES - 10 April 2014

“The NPA office does not support the holding of individuals for more than 48 hours unless it is very necessary to enable police to carry out further investigations.” kkkkkk saka hapana iripo police inongoti tirikuda kuita further investigation, 1 month munhu ari in detention be4 appearing be4 the courts. ko munhu kungoenda ku court zvinei then magistrate oti zveshuwa panodiwa further investigation that warrants further detention

beegee - 10 April 2014

True he has virtually said nothing. You investigate to arrest not arrest to investigate. My grouch with the police is they can detain you for a very minor offence. I was threatened to be detained in Kadoma because I had no listener's licence on my car radio. I had actually bought it but because ZBC does not give stickers, I forgot it home in my pocket. I had to show the officer the PGHQ number I had and said I have to talk to The Deputy Commissioner for Traffic that is when they told me to go. he had said I will go to court on Monday since it was Friday so I was going to be detained for more than 48 hrs and to investigate what on a listener's licence. I did not want to pay the fine because I had the licence and was obliged to produce it in 7 days.

Maita Manyuka - 10 April 2014

Why is it necessary in a democratic country, to require listener licences for car radios? I can bet my last dollar that this happens ONLY in Zimbabwe. Nowhere else would citizens be subjected to that oppression, This oppression is actually WORSE than Zimbabweans have ever experienced, since records began. When are we going to be free? This ZBC broadcasts drivel which no-one is interested in. Please vaMugabe, for once tereraiwo zvichemo zvemhomho yeZimbabwe. Ndapota.

Truth - 10 April 2014

Why does the police ask for radio licences in the absence of ZBC officials? If one does not have the licence then they do what? Are they authorised to fine radio licences? I think they just try to milk money from citizens at all costs unneccessarily through corruption!

Proud Zimbabwean - 11 April 2014

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