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  • Strikes and Protests 2007- Save Zimbabwe Campaign

  • Update 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.

    After almost 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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