MDC officials granted bail

HIGH Court Judge, Justice Yunus Omerjee, today granted bail to four of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) members who are accused of organising a series of bombings of police stations and railway lines, but the Order of the Judge was immediately suspended following the invocation of Section 121 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act by Mrs. Ziyambi, representing the State.


Justice Omerjee granted bail to four of the seven political detainees,
namely Chinoto Zulu, Zachariah Nkomo, Mapfumo Garutsa and Regis Mujeyi
after their lawyers, led by Alec Muchadehama, applied for bail at the
High Court. The bail applications of the remaining three, namely
Kisimusi Dhlamini, Gandi Mudzingwa and Andrison Manyere, were denied.

In granting the four bail, Justice Omerjee noted that there had not
been any apparent progress in the investigations regarding the
involvement of the four political detainees in the alleged offences,
and that the State had not provided further evidence in court
implicating the four.

Justice Omerjee ordered the four accused persons to deposit $1 000
(revalued) with the Clerk of the Harare Magistrates' Court and to
report twice daily between 6:00 AM to 13:00 pm and between 14:30 pm to
18:00 pm at police stations located near their given residential
addresses.

The Judge further ordered Zulu and Nkomo (who are currently detained at
the Avenues Clinic) to reside at their given addresses in Warren Park
suburb, Harare and Rujeko suburb in Masvingo respectively after their
discharge from the Avenues Clinic. Justice Omerjee said both Zulu and
Nkomo must not apply for a passport or a travel document until their
case is finalized and must not interfere with State witnesses. Justice
Omerjee said the two shall only leave their given residential addresses
for purposes of court appearances or with the leave of the Court.

In the case of Mapfumo Garutsa, who currently remains detained at
Chikurubi Maximum Prison despite several orders for his admission into
a private hospital for medical treatment, Justice Omerjee ordered him
to reside at his Norton home, report twice daily at Norton Police
Station, not interfere with State witnesses and not apply for a new
passport or travel document until the matter is finalized. The Judge
also ordered Garutsa not to leave the precincts of his given
residential address except for purposes of court appearances or with
leave of the Court.

Justice Omerjee ordered Regis Mujeyi, who also remains detained at
Chikurubi Maximum Prison in defiance of various court orders for his
admission into a private hospital for medical treatment, to report
twice daily at Norton Police Station, to reside at his Katanga
residence in Norton and to surrender his passport to the Clerk of the
Harare Magistrates' Court forthwith. Mujeyi is not to leave the
precincts of his given residential address except for purposes of court
appearances or with leave of the Court.

In denying bail to the three other accused persons, namely Kisimusi
Dhlamini, Gandi Mudzingwa and Andrison Manyere, Omerjee said there was
apparent evidence of them being found with items of an offensive nature
such as ammunition.

After Justice Omerjee had granted bail, in what is becoming a normal
trend, Florence Ziyambi immediately invoked section 121 of the Criminal
Procedure and Evidence Act – a counter-measure, which government
prosecutors often invoke to effectively defeat the bail order and
retain the accused persons in custody for a further 7 days to allow the
state the opportunity to file an appeal against the positive bail
ruling.

By noting an intention to appeal, Justice Omerjee's order to release
the four accused persons was immediately suspended, and they will
remain in custody.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) condemns the continued
invocation of section 121 by representatives of the Attorney General's
office. This provision is the most abused provision in relation to
political detainees, and is clearly a further intent to frustrate the
course of justice and deny accused persons their fundamental right to
liberty. ZLHR has recorded numerous cases in which section 121 has been
invoked – particularly against members of the MDC and other human
rights defenders in the wake of the March 2008 elections – and most
often after the expiry of the seven days, the state would not have
filed an appeal. The persecution of our clients continues, and there is
an urgent need for intervention in order for such repressive and
unconstitutional practices to be brought to an end and for the
political detainees to be afforded their basic rights and freedom.

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