Protesters make fresh bail application

HARARE - The defence counsel of 58 suspected protesters arrested in the capital last month yesterday made a fresh bail application, arguing that the accused’s continued detention constitutes selective application of the law.

Magistrate Vongai Muchuchuti-Guvuriro rolled over bail ruling to Monday.                           

The new application comes as magistrate Tendai Mahwe earlier this month granted 11 protesters, who were together with the 58, bail after noting that their personal circumstances provided by their respective defence lawyers were not opposed by the State.

However, Trust Maanda, who was representing the accused, argued that the court should treat the co-accused equally without discrimination.

He said the High Court, with the consent of the State, had granted bail after appeal to Promise Mkwananzi, Bruce Usvisvo and Kudzayi Muyaba, despite that their circumstances had not changed.

Maanda felt this was enough evidence to release the accused protesters as their circumstances were similar.

“The court should treat the co-accused equally without discrimination,” he said.

However, prosecutor Michael Reza opposed bail.

“The State is opposed on the basis the State does not believe the circumstances have changed . . . and at times bail has to be individualised,” he said.

It is the State’s case that the accused persons teamed up and held a public gathering at the open space near Rainbow Towers — popularly known as Freedom Square — where they had a public hearing before conspiring to proceed into the Harare central business district to cause public violence, stoning State-owned vehicles and setting ablaze vending stalls.

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