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  • Defiant state prosecutors veto bail order as magistrate releases residents charged with defacing property
    Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
    July 16
    , 2013

    Two Beitbridge residents are languishing in remand prison after a defiant prosecutor recently vetoed a bail order granted in their favour.

    The residents Itai Gombe and Alice Mugariro were arrested in Beitbridge in Matabeleland South province on 10 July 2013 and charged with assault on allegations that they physically attacked and tore the clothing of two Zanu-PF members, whom they had an altercation with.

    Gombe and Mugariro, who were represented by attorneys from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), were granted $50 bail each when they appeared at Beitbridge Magistrates court on 12 July 2013.

    But prosecutors invoked the infamous Section 121 of the Criminal Evidence and Procedure Act (CPEA) to suspend the bail order which had been granted to the two residents. The invocation of Section 121 of the CPEA immediately suspended Gombe and Mugariro’s bail order for seven days pending the filing of an appeal by the State in the High Court.

    Evidence compiled by ZLHR makes it clear that, in the majority of the cases recorded, the State had not filed an appeal after the expiry of the statutory seven days. In the isolated cases in which an appeal was pursued, rarely has an appeal filed by the Attorney General’s Office succeeded.

    ZLHR has noted that Section 121 of the CPEA has been selectively and unlawfully applied by the AG’s Office against human rights defenders and legitimate political activists in order to persecute these individuals, even where courts have found no evidence that they would pose a threat to the interests of justice, society or the State, if they were to be released on bail.

    ZLHR feels that there is an urgent need for intervention in order for such repressive and unconstitutional practices to be brought to an end and for accused persons to be afforded their basic rights and freedoms.

    Meanwhile, four Harare residents Knowledge Uranda, Leo Mutema, Tinashe Mutepfaire and Evans Gogo, who endured three nights in police cells at Harare Central Police Station, were freed on Monday 15 July 2013 on $100 bail each.

    Uranda, Mutema, Mutepfaire and Gogo were arrested on Friday 12 July 2013 and charged with defacing property for political purposes in contravention of Section 153 of the Electoral Act. They were represented by Tonderai Bhatasara, a partner at Mupanga Bhatasara Attorneys, who is a member of ZLHR.

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