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ZimRights Director endures second night in detention as lawyer faults State for fixing him
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)

Janaury 15, 2013

Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) Director, Okay Machisa will on Tuesday 15 January 2013 endure a second night in detention after Harare Magistrate Tendai Mahwe dismissed his application for refusal of remand while his lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa faulted the State for fixing him through arbitrary detention.

Magistrate Mahwe dismissed an application for refusal of remand filed by Mtetwa, who had noted some inconsistencies on the State's Request for Remand form, which did not make any reference to his involvement in the alleged commission of forgery, fraud and communicating and publishing falsehoods prejudicial to the State as put by State prosecutor Michael Reza.

Machisa, whom the State claimed represented ZimRights as an institution even though he had not been mandated to do so by the organisation's board was on Monday 14 January 2013 charged with contravening Section 31, 136 and 137 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act for allegedly attempting to defraud the Registrar General's Office by forging and manufacturing counterfeit copies of certificates of voter registration. The State also attempted to link the commission of the offence to the charges faced by Leo Chamwahwinya, the ZimRights Education Programmes Manager, who was arrested on 13 December 2012 together with Dorcas Shereni, the ZimRights Highfields Local Chapter Chairperson and Farai Bhani and Tatenda Chinaka.

In her application in a case which spilled into Tuesday evening and which at one time Mtetwa applied for the dismissal of the matter for want of prosecution, the feisty human rights lawyer argued that Machisa would be severely prejudiced by a fatally defective Request for Remand Form which did not list factual allegations against the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition chairperson except those related to ZimRights as an organisation. Mtetwa argued that the State should be ordered to put its house in order while Machisa should be freed and summoned to appear in court once the State papers are in order.

But State prosecutor Reza, who apologized for delaying court proceedings after he deliberately absented himself without notice in the afternoon, opposed Mtetwa's application and argued that the State had made an amendment to the Request for Remand to list Machisa as accused Number One while ZimRights is now considered as Accused Number Two.

Magistrate Mahwe then dismissed Machisa's application for refusal of remand and remanded the ZimRights director in custody to Wednesday 16 January 2013 at 08:30 am pending the application for bail.

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