ZLHR petitions High Court over freedom bid for 30 residents languishing in prison

17 Beitbridge residents were released on $50 bail after human rights lawyers petitioned the High Court in Bulawayo seeking the release of 30 Beitbridge residents who are languishing in remand prison after they were arrested and charged with committing public violence early this month.

zimra-warehouse-on-fireBeitbridge Magistrate Gloria Takundwa denied bail to the 30, who are made up mainly of residents of the border town, when they appeared in court for initial remand early this month.
Magistrate Takundwa ruled that the 30 residents, who were arrested and charged with committing public violence in contravention of Section 36 (1 ) (a) of Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act [Chapter 9:23], were facing a serious offence which would influence them to abscond and that investigations were still pending among other reasons.
The denial of bail by Magistrate Takundwa led the Beitbridge residents’ lawyers Reason Mutimba, Patrick Tererai and Lizwe Jamela, all of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), to file an appeal in the High Court in Bulawayo. In their appeal, the human rights lawyers argued that the Beitbridge residents should not have been denied bail as the administration of justice would not be prejudiced by admitting them on bail.
Mutimba, Tererai and Jamela argued that Magistrate Takundwa erred and misdirected herself as the Beitbridge residents were only implicated in gang arrests and the prosecution had no evidence of what each of the appellants did to commit public violence.
The lawyers charged that Magistrate Takundwa erred and misdirected herself in refusing to grant bail to the Beitbridge residents when there was no evidence indicating the likelihood to commit further offences andthat none of the accused persons has a previous conviction or pending cases of public violence.

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