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MMPZ employees condemned to prison
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)

December 07, 2011

Two Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe (MMPZ) employees, Fadzai December and Molly Chimhanda and MMPZ member, Gilbert Mabusa will spend the next two nights in prison after Gwanda Magistrate Douglas Zvenyika on Wednesday 7 December 2011 postponed to Friday 9 December 2011, a ruling on a bail application filed by their lawyer, Kossam Ncube.

Magistrate Zvenyika postponed his ruling to Friday morning in order to consider submissions filed by Ncube, of Kossam Ncube and Partners Legal Practitioners and a board member of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights in support of bail and the opposition by the State prosecutor, Blessing Gundani.

In opposing bail Gundani argued that December, Chimhanda and Mabusa were likely to interfere with State witnesses because they have links to some of them.

The prosecutor claimed that the MMPZ project officers and Mabusa were facing a serious offence with prospects of imprisonment which they are likely to flee from because they are young with no links to the country.

Gundani claimed that releasing December, Chimhanda and Mabusa would be inappropriate as the police were still conducting investigations and that there are some more compact discs of a similar nature that they want to recover from Harare.

The prosecutor also indicated that the police want to recover the equipment used to produce the compact discs and verify the residential addresses that were given by December, Chimhanda and Mabusa. Gundani claimed that the compact discs contain material that is insulting to some "particular individuals" and are "very sensitive to the extent that the matter had ruffled a lot of feathers."

December, Chimhanda and Mabusa were arrested on Monday 5 December 2011 after they attended at Gwanda Police Station. Their attendance to the police station followed requests by Gwanda police officers that they should visit Gwanda Police station for questioning relating to a workshop conducted in the area in November.

December, Chimhanda and Mabusa were 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'.

On Tuesday 6 December 2011 police in Harare raided and picked up MMPZ Project Coordinator, Andrew Moyse for allegedly possessing some materials on Gukurahundi and confiscated some Digital Video Disc (DVD)'s from the organisation's offices. They later released him after going through an interrogation session which lasted several hours.

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