Bail too high, say protestors' lawyers

BULAWAYO - Lawyers representing over 80 protesters who were arrested here during last week’s stay-away are frustrated that suspects are being assigned bail they believe is too high.

Many of those charged cannot pay the $80 bail, and may spend months in remand prison awaiting trial.

One of the lawyers co-representing the accused, Tanaka Muganyi, asked that bail be revoked.

The bail was set by Bulawayo magistrate Evelyn Mashavakuwe.

Among the accused were three juveniles, who were granted free bail as they were considered to be below the majority age.

They were remanded to July 21 for commencement of trial on public violence charges.

Speaking to journalists after the court session, Muganyi decried the bail amount considering that almost all of them were unemployed.

“Bail was pegged at $80 per individual which was about $6 800 that needs to be paid by these innocent, unemployed accused persons,” he said.

“It’s going to be a difficult process to raise the money considering that they are unemployed.

“Such a high bail is set which is unfortunate especially to citizens who were just rounded up in a dragnet arrest.”

Muganyi, however, challenged police to be conscientised in terms of arresting and detaining juveniles.

The youths are accused of public violence in which they allegedly broke into shops and looted in Mzilikazi and Makokoba suburbs.

Seven lawyers, including Lison Ncube, Jonathan Tsvangirai, Dumisani Dube and Muganyi, under the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and Abammeli Human Rights Lawyers are co-representing the protestors.

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