Rights lawyers attack police over rioters' arrests

HARARE - Police officers who arrested demonstrators that allegedly staged riots across Harare, indiscriminately picked up people from bus stops and broke into their homes before placing the value of damages of their vehicle at $500 000 to sensationalise the matter, defence lawyers said yesterday.

At least 105 people from Ruwa, Epworth and Mabvuku, have appeared before Harare provincial magistrate Vakayi Chikwekwe charged with public violence.

They are being represented by human rights lawyers Trust Manda, Arnold Taruvinga, Obey Shava, Gift Mthisi and Jeremiah Bhamu.

Manda said the State was at pains to ensure that the accused persons’ right to bail was suppressed.

He noted that arresting details had not arrested the accused persons at the scene and, thus, could not argue that they would flee from court proceedings.

“…the first accused person was just walking in the neighbourhood when he was apprehended and thrown into the vehicle. Kudzai Jingu is a student at Bindura University of Science Education and was taken on his way to  buy provisions for his studies

Police arrests protesters in Epworth on Monday.

“They went around picking up people from the comfort of their homes and bus stops. For Patrick Kadzere and Paul Madziva, they had returned from night duty and lay peacefully in their homes when police broke in and set dogs on them before arrest.”

Manda argued that the group had no means to skip the country since they have family responsibilities and had no previously recorded convictions.

However, prosecutor Mollen Mutamangira argued that previous convictions were still being checked and that releasing the accused persons was not in the interests of justice.

The bail ruling will be passed today.

According to State papers on July 4, police received a tip-off that protestors from Greater Harare Association for Commuter omnibuses were demonstrating in Epworth, Zimre Park and Mabvuku.

The court heard that the rioters had blocked traffic flow at Chans Shopping Centre using boulders, drums and burning tyres.

The demonstrators allegedly forced passengers to disembark from commuter omnibuses and police moved in to calm the situation.

The court heard that the accused persons began charging at the cops throwing stones and threatening them with death.

Police officers who sustained injuries from the attacks are still receiving medical attention.

Accused persons were later arrested.

Comments (1)

Surprisingly these barbaric rights lawyers do not condemn the stone wielding thugs. They feel happy when these thugs stone school buses with school children. Idiots.

LAWYER - 9 July 2016

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