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acquitted over torture exhibition as Magistrate quashes police ban
of Bulawayo Agenda meetings
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
January 23, 2012
Dorothy Mwanyisa on Monday 23 January 2012 acquitted the Zimbabwe
Human Rights Association (ZimRights) and its senior official
Joel Hita on charges of organising a photo
exhibition in Masvingo showing the 2008 election brutality.
Magistrate Mwanyisa upheld
an application for exception to the charges filed on Monday 23 January
2012 by the ZimRights lawyer Blessing Nyamaropa of Zimbabwe Lawyers
for Human Rights (ZLHR).
In his application Nyamaropa
argued that the section under which ZimRights and Hita were being
charged did not disclose an offence as it was repealed in 2007.
The State conceded to
Nyamaropa's application and Hita and ZimRights, which was
represented by the organisation's national deputy chairperson
Pelagia Razemba Semakweli and who had entered a not guilty plea
when their trial commenced were duly acquitted by Magistrate Mwanyisa.
Hita were charged under the harsh Public
Order and Security Act for organising a photo exhibition in
Masvingo in 2010 entitled "Reflections", which showcased
pictures depicting how Zimbabweans, particularly those viewed as
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's supporters, were brutalised
Magistrate Tancy Dube on Monday 23 January 2012 quashed a police
ban on some public meetings organized by Bulawayo
Agenda in Tsholotsho and Lupane.
had on Monday 16 January 2012 gave notification to the police regulatory
authority for Lupane District in Matabeleland North province notifying
them of their intention to hold two public meetings, whose agenda
involved giving an update to the community on the ongoing constitution
making process. The first meeting was scheduled to be held on
Sunday 22 January 2012 at DDF Training Centre in Tsholotsho with
the second one planned for 28 January 2012 at Matshabalala Hall
But on Friday 20 January
2012, two days before the first scheduled meeting, the police advised
Bulawayo Agenda that they did not approve of all the two meetings
without giving any reasons for the ban of the meetings.
The police ban on the
Bulawayo Agenda meetings compelled ZLHR senior projects lawyer,
Lizwe Jamela to institute urgent proceedings in the form of an ex-parte
application challenging the police veto of the meetings as they
did not state cogent grounds for the prohibition.
sought to interdict Lupane police and its agents or anyone acting
under their instructions from disturbing or interfering in any way
with the meetings to be held at Matshabalala Hall in Lupane on Saturday
28 January 2012 convened by Bulawayo Agenda, which was granted by
Magistrate Dube sanctioned Bulawayo Agenda to proceed with the public
meeting scheduled for the weekend and to reschedule and convene
the meeting that did not take place on Sunday 22 January 2012 without
giving any notice to the police and promote the organisation's
right to freedom of assembly and association as set out in Section
21 of the Constitution
and the right to freedom of expression as guaranteed in Section
20 of the Constitution.
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