Bennett’s release imminent as Mutare magistrate agrees to free him

roy_bennett.jpgA Mutare magistrate has agreed to accept Roy Bennett's bail payment. By around 7pm (Zimbabwe time) Bennett's lawyers and the MDC leadership in Manicaland were waiting outside Mutare remand prison for his release.

There was confusion on Wednesday when it had been reported that the MDC
official would remain in a Mutare prison after the Attorney General’s
office appealed to the country’s highest court to deny him bail.

State prosecutor Chris Mutangadura said the MDC official ‘posed a
flight risk’ and therefore Bennett should remain behind bars until the
Supreme Court ruled on the appeal.

However the defence team said the AG’s appeal was purely academic as it
was filed beyond the seven day limit they had to appeal. Lawyer Trust
Maanda said the continued detention of his client was "unlawful now, no
matter how many attempts they make for appeals because they are already
out of time."

Maanda said the presiding magistrate had at first instructed the clerk
of court not to receive the payment as the magistrate said it was
premature to post bail, since the prosecutors had filed an application
in the Supreme Court.

But Maanda said that if the magistrate tried to stop the clerk from
dealing with the bail payment it would have amounted to interference
with the High Court decision.

Roy Bennett was arrested on February 13th on his way to South Africa
where he has been living in exile with his family. He was charged with

Meanwhile the MDC supporters arrested in Nyanga on Friday were released
Tuesday evening. 150 people had originally been arrested after they had
gone to reclaim their livestock, taken during the election period last
year. By Tuesday the number had been reduced to 86 people in custody.
Maanda, who also represented them, said they were released on free

SW RAdio AFrica

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