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Human rights defender's case postponed
Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights)
September 16, 2010

The court case against the ZimRights Masvingo regional chairperson, Joel Hita, was postpoined yesterday to a date that is yet to be notified, after the state prosecutor said he is preparing a new docket to charge Hita together with ZimRights.

Public prosecutor Mr Mushoriwa Jaravani took this initiative after Hita's lawyer indicated that he sought to make submissions to the effect of raising a constitutional matter in the Supreme Court prior to the initial proceedings of the trial.

Hita's matter was initially scheduled for 8:30 am, but the prosecutor Mr Mushoriwa Jaravani indicated that he had another matter to deal with. At 11:30 am when the matter was supposed to be heard, Jaravani sought Htia's legal practitioner, Mr Shuma's indulgence that the matter start at 2pm. Jaravani indicated that he was not ready since he had not disposed of the matter he had been dealing with.

At the allotted time, Jaravani did not arrive, but appeared at 3:15 pm. He said that he had perused the Court record and it was clear that the state had to jointly charge Mr Hita and the ZimRights as an organisation.

He indicated his intention to proceed by way of summons. Having been asked if this had not been the initial position, which had seen the matter being referred to the Attorney General's office, he professed ignorance. He then sought the advice of the Area Public Prosecutor. After a few minutes he came back insinuating that the matter never went to the Attorney General's office in the first place. He then said he will prepare a docket and then summon the accused to appear in court, but he did not disclose when this is likely to take place.

It is now nearly five months since Hita was charged for holding a public event without police clearance. This is in contravention of Section 24 (1) as read with Section 24 (6) of the Public Order and Security Act POSA Chapter 11:07 which require one to give at least four clear day's notice before holding a public event.

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