FULL TEXT: Zim Court Rejects Onerous Bail Conditions For Abductees

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights has indicated that Marare Magistrate Barbara Mateko has denied the request by the state to give three female MDC members tough bail conditions.

The trio, Joannah Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova are being accused of violating lockdown regulations by participating in a flash hunger protest held on 13 May in Warren Park.

Below is the ZLHR’s statement in full.

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28 May 2020

ZIM COURT REJECTS ONEROUS BAIL CONDITIONS FOR ABDUCTEES AS AUTHORITIES CONVENE BEDSIDE COURT SESSION

HARARE Magistrate Barbra Mateko on Thursday 28 May 2020 rejected a bid by prosecutors to impose onerous bail conditions on three opposition MDC-Alliance party youth leaders, who were charged for allegedly participated in an anti-government protest, in a matter in which authorities conducted a bedside court session at a hospital in Harare.

Prosecutors led by Tinashe Makiya from the National Prosecuting Authority had on Wednesday 27 May 2020 asked Magistrate Mateko to order Harare North legislator Hon. Joana Mamombe, Cecelia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova to deposit RTGS$2 000 as bail money and to report three times in a week at a Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) station until their matter is finalised.

The State’s proposal was strongly opposed by Hon. Mamombe, Chimbiri and Marova’s lawyers Roselyn Hanzi and Jeremiah Bamu of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, who accused prosecutors of seeking to impose onerous bail conditions on their clients and of discriminating the trio against other male MDC-Alliance party youth leaders, who were arrested recently and admitted to bail on flexible terms.

On Thursday, Magistrate Mateko agreed with Hanzi and Bamu and ordered Hon. Mamombe, Chimbiri and Marova to pay $1 000 as bail money and to report once a week at Harare Central Police Station and to continue residing at their given residential addresses and not to interfere with state witnesses until their matter is finalised.

During the hearing of their bail application, Bamu and Hanzi, who objected to the placement of their clients on remand and raised several complaints against ZRP members regarding the ill-treatment and violation of several of their clients’ fundamental rights, also gave notice that Hon. Mamombe, Chimbiri and Marova will petition the Constitutional Court seeking redress.

The trio return to court on 13 August 2020.
Hon. Mamombe, Chimbiri and Marova were on Tuesday 26 May 2020 charged with participating in a gathering with intent to promote public violence, breaches of the peace or bigotry as defined in section 37 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act and for contravening section 5(3) (a) as read with section 5(1) of Statutory Instrument 99 of 2020 of Public Health (COVID-19 Prevention, Containment and Treatment) (National Lockdown) Order, 2020.

The MDC-Alliance party youth leaders were accused of participating in an illegal demonstration held on 13 May 2020 in Warren Park 1 suburb in which opposition party supporters allegedly staged a flash protest against abuse of financial resources and the extension of a government-enforced national lockdown by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

During the demonstration, prosecutors argued, the alleged protestors reportedly carried a placard inscribed “Unlock Us Before We Revolt”.

The prosecution of Hon. Mamombe, Chimbiri and Marova comes at a time when the trio is currently receiving treatment at a local medical facility following their abduction, disappearance and torture on 13 May 2020 and to date, no arrests have been made by ZRP members of people who abducted, disappeared and tortured the opposition youth leaders.

Meanwhile, a Harare Magistrate on Wednesday 27 May 2020 granted RTGS$1 000 bail to Lovejoy Chitengu, the Youth Organising Secretary for the MDC-Alliance party’s Harare Province after he was arrested and charged with participating in a gathering with intent to promote public violence, breaches of the peace or bigotry as defined in section 37 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act and for contravening section 5(3)(a) as read with section 5(1) of Statutory Instrument 99 of 2020 of Public Health (COVID-19 Prevention, Containment and Treatment) (National Lockdown) Order, 2020.

Chitengu, who is represented by Gift Mtisi of ZLHR, will return to court on 13 August 2020.

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