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  • Gwanda police arrest and detain a Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe member and two project officers as the High Court denies Madzore bail
    Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)

    December 05, 2011

    Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) advises of the recent attacks on the rights to freedom of expression and assembly that occurred in Gwanda culminating in the unwarranted arrest and subsequent detention of two Project Officers from the Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe (MMPZ) and a member of that organisation.

    On 05 December 2011, at about 08:05 hours the two MMPZ employees Fadzai December, Molly Chimhanda and MMPZ member Gilbert Mabusa attended at Gwanda Police Station in the company of their ZLHR lawyer, Kossam Ncube to 'answer questions'.

    Their attendance followed requests by Gwanda police officers on Tuesday 29 October 2011 that they visit Gwanda Police station for questioning relating to a workshop conducted in the area on 24 November 2011. Police then proceeded to question the trio after barring their ZLHR lawyer from being present in the interview room, as has become custom despite the fact that the three have a right to be represented by a lawyer of their choice at all times in criminal proceedings as enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe and the human rights instruments that Zimbabwe has voluntarily ratified.

    Gwanda police officers led by one Detective Sergeant Sagune then recorded warned and cautioned statements from the three in the presence of their ZLHR lawyer. They are being charged with contravening section 25(1)(b) of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA), for allegedly 'participating in a gathering without seeking authority from the regulating authority' and also for allegedly contravening section 37(1)(b) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, by 'distributing material that is likely to provoke a breach of peace'.

    The ZLHR lawyer was advised that the trio will be taken to court on 06 December 2011, or 07 December 2011. ZLHR will provide updates on progress in this matter.

    Meanwhile, the Harare High Court on 5 December 2011 denied Solomon Madzore's bail application based on changed circumstances that had been filed by defence ZLHR member lawyer Gift Mtisi. In his bail application Mtisi contended that there were facts that constituted changed circumstances as Madzore had never been on the run as previously indicated by the prosecutor relying on the information that had been provided to the court in the initial bail application. Mtisi indicated that Madzore was never on the run as he continued to attend and address political rallies.

    Justice Maria Zimba Dube proceeded to dismiss the application on the basis that the information on which the lawyer based his application did not constitute changed circumstances, as the information was available to Madzore at the time of his initial bail application.

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