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state charges MMPZ employees with insulting Mugabe and vetoes MMPZ
employees' bail order
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
December 09, 2011
for Human Rights (ZLHR) condemns the malicious and unwarranted actions
of the State in vetoing a bail order granted on Friday 9 December
2011 in favour of two Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe (MMPZ)
employees, Fadzai December and Molly Chimhanda and MMPZ member,
and Mabusa, who are accused of contravening some provisions of the
Order and Security Act (POSA) and the Criminal
Law (Codification and Reform) Act were granted $50 bail each
by Gwanda Magistrate Douglas Zvenyika with no reporting conditions.
But State prosecutor
Blessing Gundani, invoked the notorious Section 121 of the Criminal
Evidence and Procedure Act (CPEA) to suspend the bail order
which had been granted to December, Chimhanda and Mabusa. The intransigent
invocation of Section 121 of the CPEA suspends the bail order for
seven days pending the filing of an appeal by the State in the High
on Friday 9 December 2011, the State added an alternative charge
of undermining authority of or insulting President Robert Mugabe
against the MMPZ officials in contravention of Section 33 of the
Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act without elaborating how
the trio committed the offence.
and Mabusa, who are represented by ZLHR member lawyers Kossam Ncube,
Lison Ncube and Rose Hanzi were already 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'. They are also accused of 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' when they were arrested on Monday 5 December
ZLHR is perturbed
by the malicious and obdurate actions of the State in continuing
to unnecessarily infringe upon the fundamental right to liberty
of the MMPZ employees by bringing up Section 121 of the CPEA. This
is despite the fact that the constitutionality of Section 121 of
the CPEA is being challenged in numerous cases which are yet to
be heard by the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe.
abuse of this draconian piece of legislation is being used to the
prejudice of suspects as prosecutors are clearly usurping the powers
of the judiciary who in this case had safeguarded the fundamental
right to liberty of December, Chimhanda and Mabusa. The pressing
of a new charge against the MMPZ officials is sufficient confirmation
that the State is determined to deprive these human rights defenders
of their liberty and keep them in detention at all costs.
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