Hitschman’s health deteriorates

MUTARE - Licensed gun dealer, Peter Hitschman, arrested two months ago on spurious charges of plotting a coup against President Mugabe, is in a serious condition in a Mutare jail after being thrashed to within an inch of his life.
According to eye witnesses, Hitschman's health has deteriorated se

riously. “His legs and face are swollen. His urinary system seems to be failing. He is generally in a terrible state and is in acute pain,” a spokesman for his lawyers and family told The Zimbabwean this week.
“His captors have refused him access to a doctor or to medical treatment at the local hospital. The attitude is one of people who do not care if he dies,” said the spokesman.
Hitshman, in whose house the state claimed to have discovered an arms cache for use in a murder plot, is on remand and will face trial next month. He was arrested with Roy Bennett, Giles Mutseyekwa and several other MDC officials, who have since been released after charges were dropped.
Lawyers representing the activists said they had all been badly tortured while in custody. Bennett fled for his life to South Africa, where he believe to have been allowed to stay pending processing of his asylum application.
The charges against Hitschman change almost on a weekly basis. Initially it was said he had been caught with an “arms cache” and he was alleged to be part of an assassination or coup conspiracy.
When the conspiracy charges fell apart the Attorney General’s office quickly panel-beat fresh charges of possession of dangerous weapons.
When it emerged that he was a licensed gun dealer and charges of possession would be non-sustainable, the AG contacted purported ballistics experts to certify on oath that some of the guns were so dangerous that the accused would have needed a special permit to posses them.
Again his bail application was defeated on the fresh charges before a handpicked judge. In the meantime he was subjected to endless interrogation.
The investigating officers and state agents would collect him from remand prison against his will and interrogate him without his lawyers and behind the backs of his lawyers.
An attempt to obtain a court injunction against the violation of his constitutional right to legal representation was foiled by the cowardice of the magistrates before whom the case was placed.
In the meantime, faced with a fresh bail application, the AG has brought up new treason charges on the same facts, the same case. The High Court has reserved judgement.
An attempt to get relief from the Magistrate’s Court was again foiled by the reluctance of the prosecutors, who were all unwilling to consider the application.
This was so even after the Attorney General’s representative, a Mr. Chikafu had personally gone to see for himself the serious condition of the accused, and promised to respond this week.

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