members release without appearing in court
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of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)
February 15, 2007
The 174 members arrested in Bulawayo on Tuesday were finally released
at 5 pm without appearing in court.
ran out of delaying tactics when lawyers made ready a High Court
application. The members were arrested on 13 February as they conducted
a peaceful Valentines
Day protest. As members were arrest in one protest another sprung
up elsewhere - police officers confirmed arresting people
at five different locations in the city where protests had sprung
it had been understood that only seven would be charged under the
Law (Codification and Reform) Act and that the rest would be
released, Police made an about turn and only released mothers with
babies and minors, leaving 141 in custody for a second night.
Today as lawyers
attended prepared to go to Court, the investigating officers indicated
they had had 'orders' to charge everyone and take them
to court. This meant preparing warned and cautioned statements from
everyone. This process of course meant the 48-hour deadline, up
at midday, was exceeded by several hours.
Finally at 5
pm today, the group was finally released at 5pm - five hours
after their 48-hour deadline had passed. The Prosecutor advised
Law and Order officers to proceed by way of summons. Another factor
is that once again no police officer is willing to write the necessary
affidavit to allow evidence necessary to charge the activist.
we recognize that it is positive step for them to refuse to be used
to convict innocent people, we appeal to police officers to help
' name and shame' the senior police officer who shouted
at Riot police not to dialogue with the activists at the scene but
gave the order for the peaceful women and men to be beaten. We also
deplore the manner in which
those arrested were beaten as they ascended the staircase into the
law and order department of Bulawayo Central. Those who had sustained
injuries due to beatings on arrest and in custody have been taken
to receive medical treatment.
It appears that
the group has been charged under Section 46 of the Criminal Law
(Codification and Reform) as read with Section 2(v) of the schedule
to the Criminal Code - 'employs any means whatsoever
which are likely materially to interfere with the ordinary comfort,
convenience, peace or quiet of the public or any section of the
public, or does any act which is likely to create a nuisance or
the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) located Magodonga Mahlangu
at Sauerstown Police Station. Monitors were dispatched to ensure
she was not abducted and their presence ensured she was moved with
the rest of the group to Bulawayo Central. She has been released
and is also receiving medical treatment for the beatings that she
received upon arrest.
The petty nastiness
of the Zimbabwe Republic Police was again evident today. Having
informed those on support yesterday that the breakfast feeding time
had been changed to 5am, volunteers were mobilised to provide food
at 5am but were kept waiting until 7am, the normal feeding time.
A woman at Queens Park was consistently denied her ARV medication.
Reports have also come in that several members were forced to eat
the paper placards that they had been carrying during the demonstration
- some of these read, 'love can bring a brighter day'
and 'From WOZA with love'.
inability of some officers to choose love over hate, WOZA would
like to salute those officers who did treat our members with respect
and professionalism and who recognized that WOZA is fighting for
a better future for ALL Zimbabweans.
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