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Strikes and Protests 2007- Save Zimbabwe Campaign
on Save Zimbabwe Campaign arrests
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
March 13, 2007
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Fifteen of the 50 people arrested during a disruption of a Save
Zimbabwe Campaign prayer meeting at Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfield
on Sunday 11 March 2007 by armed riot police with water canons and
teargas, were admitted at the Avenues Clinic following a High Court
Order granted on Monday 12 March 2007. The order compelled the police
to allow uninhibited access to medical as well as legal attention,
by the arrested and injured activists and in the unfortunate and
contemptuous denial of such, the accused persons should have been
brought to the High Court by 0800 hours on Tuesday 13 March 2007.
The police in yet another display of impunity and disregard of fundamental
principles of justice and rule of law blatantly defied this order.
The 50 had been detained at various holding police cells that is,
Mabvuku, Highlands, Braeside, Borrowdale, Matapi, Mbare, Avondale,
Malborough, Malbereign, Harare Central and Southerton. The High
Court order compelled the police in the event of failing to bring
them before a magistrate court for remand proceedings by 1200hours
to release the accused persons. However, the police in another display
of arrogance disregarded the order only brought the detainees to
court an empty court room after 1200hours after the magistrates
and the public prosecutor insisted that the matter had not been
properly placed before them.
3 hours of waiting in the court room, the activists were then whisked
to the Avenues Clinic for medical treatment, after a protracted
argument with the Investigating Officer Superintendent Tavaziva
and certain Detective Muchada of Law and Order Section Harare Central
Police. At 2100hours police under the instruction of one Assistant
Commissioner Mabunda, returned the accused persons to the magistrate
court, officers from the Attorney General left in haste after refusing
to remand the accused persons. Prison guards had been summoned to
take the accused persons in anticipation of a decision to remand
the detainees in custody After much waiting and heated exchanges
between the lawyers and Assistant Commissioner Mabunda who was very
reluctant to release the accused persons, finally conceded to release
them into the custody of their lawyers and ZLHR members for an appearance
in court at 0900 hours on Wednesday 14 March 2007.
Late night appearances
in properly constituted courts are held to protect and further the
rights of accused persons and to ensure that they are not deprived
of their liberty. However, ZLHR notes with concern that the move
had been upheld to safeguard the interests of the state which are
meant on bringing the state of administration of justice into disrepute,
shame and furthering the erosion and undermining of the judiciary
and the justice system. ZLHR commends the Attorney General Officers'
for not participating and legitimising illegal acts and playing
into the police's gallery by refusing to breach the still
operational High Court order which stated that detainees were to
be released if they had not appeared in court by 1200hours on Tuesday
13 March 2007.
ZLHR is also concerned at the arrest of three student leaders and
two Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition secretariat members at Rotten row
Magistrates Courts for standing in solidarity with the detained
Save Zimbabwe Campaign leaders. The five, Washington Katema, Zimbabwe
National Student's Union (ZINASU) coordinator, Promise
Mkwananzi, ZINASU president, Tellington Kwashira, Emily Nkhungwa
and Roderick Chirowodza are still detained.
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