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  • Treason charges against Munyaradzi Gwisai & others - Index of articles


  • Charge shopping state water down treason charges against Gwisai and five others
    Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)

    July 18, 2011

    State prosecutor Edmore Nyazamba on Monday 18 July 2011 watered down treason charges against University of Zimbabwe lecturer and International Socialist Organisation (ISO) general-coordinator Munyaradzi Gwisai and five other social, economic justice and human rights activists who were accused of plotting to topple President Robert Mugabe using "Egyptian style" revolts.

    The treason trial which was supposed to commence on Monday 18 July 2011 at the Harare Regional Courts was postponed to 22 August 2011 after Magistrate Morgan Nemadire recused himself from presiding over the trial as he is known of one of the activists.

    Harare Regional Magistrate William Bhila will now preside over the trial.

    In a dramatic twist, Nyazamba served a new charge sheet to the activists' lawyer Alec Muchadehama with altered charges.

    Under the new charge sheet Nyazamba altered the treason charge that the six activists namely Gwisai, anti-debt campaigner Hopewell Gumbo, Antonater Choto, the director of the Zimbabwe Labour Centre, student leader Welcome Zimuto, Eddson Chakuma and Tatenda Mombeyarara were initially charged with to a main charge of contravening Section 36 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act for allegedly conspiring to commit public violence and three other alternative charges.

    Gwisai, Gumbo, Choto, Zimuto, Chakuma and Mombeyarara face alternative charges of contravening section 187 as read with section 36 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act for allegedly inciting public violence, contravening section 37 (1) (a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act for allegedly participating in a gathering with intent to promote public violence, breaches of peace or bigotry and contravening section 37 (1) (c) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act for allegedly participating in a gathering with intent to promote violence, breaches of peace or bigotry.

    Gwisai and the five social justice and human rights activists were arrested on Saturday 19 February 2011 together with 39 other activists during a constitutional and democracy lecture held in Harare.

    Nyazamba alleged that the activists delivered speeches during the lecture encouraging participants to mobilize Zimbabweans to revolt against President Mugabe and his government.

    Harare Magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi freed 39 of the activists.

    This is the second time that the State has altered charges against the six activists. In May Nyazamba told High Court Judge Justice Samuel Kudya that Gwisai, Gumbo, Choto, Zimuto, Chakuma and Mombeyarara would no longer face trial on a charge of treason but for allegedly subverting a constitutional government in contravention of Section 22 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

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