Court frees alleged Zimbabwe poll protesters on bail

Court frees alleged Zimbabwe poll protesters on bail

Zimbabwe National Army

HARARE, (CAJ News) A ZIMBABWEAN magistrate has trashed the state’s case against opposition supporters recently arrested and charged for allegedly protesting in deadly post-election violence.

Harare magistrate, Nyasha Vhitorini, who has released the 27 suspects on $50 (R664) bail each, castigated the state prosecutors for bringing a “disjointed case” to court.

He ruled that prosecutors had failed to bring convincing evidence to convince the court that the susects had committed the alleged crime.

The magistrate said Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers arrested the suspects at the headquarters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance in Harare and at other places in the city by relying
on a search warrant which they obtained from court but did not authorise them to effect any arrests.

The warrant permitted officers to search for computers, stones, firearms, ammunition and some so-called subversive material allegedly possessed by MDC Alliance leaders, and not the accused people.

Prosecutors claimed the suspects, some employed as election agents by the MDC Alliance party during the elections and others hired as security officers at Morgan Tsvangirai House, the opposition’s headquarters, participated in violence that broke out last Wednesday as some civilians protested against the management of the harmonised elections by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

Six civilians were killed as trigger-happy soldiers fired live ammunition.

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights has secured the suspects on bail.

Magistrate Vhitorini ordered the accused to report to the local police station weekly on Fridays.

He also ordered them to reside at their given residential addresses and not to interfere with state witness and investigations.

– CAJ News




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