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Bail denied for activists as state comes up with new charges
Lance Guma , SW Radio Africa
April 13, 2007

On Friday High Court judge Tedius Karwi denied bail to Glen View legislator Paul Madzore and 5 MDC office workers, including Luke Tamborinyoka and Brighton Masimba, saying the police needed more time to investigate. The judge proceeded to give the state up to 25th April to deliver its evidence. In the meantime the activists remain in remand prison. Defence lawyer Alec Muchadehama queried the system being employed saying the police should first investigate before arresting his clients. 'How do you arrest first then investigate later?' he said. He expressed concern that the judicial system is being used to try and sanitize what is clearly a campaign of terror against the opposition.

Initially the activists were being charged with masterminding and carrying out a string of petrol bomb attacks on several government targets. But on Friday the state, as if unsure the initial case would stick, decided to place new charges saying the MDC officials received military training in South Africa's Orange Free State. Muchadehama says they now have to lodge an urgent chamber application in the Supreme Court to have the matter resolved. He says the state has absolutely no evidence and his clients were suffering in remand prison for nothing. As if to emphasize his point Justice Karwi ordered the release of one activist Stanley Mutsembi because the bombing in question took place while he was already in police custody. Muchadehama told Newsreel most of his clients faced a similar situation.

Hospital and opposition sources estimate that over 600 activists have been hospitalized following brutal abductions and torture. Mugabe's regime is accused of trying to cripple the opposition by targeting its entire leadership. Several police stations, houses and business premises owned by Zanu PF sympathisers have been petrol-bombed in the last few weeks. Mugabe is accused of masterminding this wave of violence to justify a brutal crackdown on anyone who is in active opposition to his rule. A Zanu PF militia group called Chipangano, a newly created unit called Department 5 and other groups in the security services, are allegedly being used to create the violence and abduct opposition officials.

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