56 languish in remand prison

HARARE - At least 56 suspected protesters — including a 68-year-old woman — are still languishing in remand prison nearly a month after their arrest on public violence allegations.

The suspected protesters, who were arrested following the August 26 protests that rocked Harare, remained in custody yesterday after their bail appeal before High Court judge Happious Zhou failed to proceed owing to prosecutor Edmore Nyazamba’s absence.

Nyazamba was reportedly ill yesterday. The matter will be heard today.

The 56, represented by Charles Mutsahuni Chikore and Obey Shava, approached the High Court after they were denied bail by the Harare Magistrates’ Courts.

Their lawyers stated in the appeal papers that the presiding magistrate Tendai Mahwe misdirected himself.

“The . . . magistrate erred and misdirected himself in denying appellants bail by relying on the ground that the investigating officer needed time to carry out more investigations and hold an identification parade when he had made no finding that the release of appellants on bail would jeopardise those investigations and how that would render an investigation parade impossible,” the lawyers argued.

The lawyers described as outrageous and illogical, the decision to deny their clients bail on the basis that the police needed time to investigate.

According to the appeal, several of the suspects were arrested while going about their own business and were not part of the alleged protesters.

One of the protesters, 68-year-old Rihana Mhondiwa, said she was not part of the protests.

According to court papers, the 56 are accused of having teamed up and held a public gathering at an open space close to the Harare Magistrates’ Courts and the Interpol offices.

It is alleged that the group then conspired to proceed to the central business district and cause sporadic public violence.

“They then proceeded into the central business district and assaulted police officers, set ablaze vendors’ stalls at Copacabana bust terminus, Harare, stoned State-owned motor vehicles belonging to the Zimbabwe Republic Police…,” reads part of the court papers.

The court papers further stated that the group also stoned privately-owned motor vehicles before breaking into shops and looting clothes, groceries and other items.

It is the State’s case that the accused further disturbed peace, security and public order.

Comments (1)

Time is fast approaching when all the remand prisons will be overwhelmed by impossible numbers. After gaining independence, jails shall be populated by the likes of Chombo, Grace Marufu, Mnangagwa, Kasukuwere, Jonothan Moyo and the rest of the thieving murderers who are rich but have no jobs.

Dr. Dete - 24 September 2016

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