Lawyers file another High Court bail application for political detainees

human_rights_header.jpgHuman rights lawyers defending political detainees who have been in police custody since December last year, filed yet another urgent bail application in the High Court on Tuesday.

This was a day after Supreme Court Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku,
upheld a High Court decision denying bail to the MDC Director for
Security Chris Dhlamini, Ghandi Mudzingwa a former aide to the MDC
President and freelance journalist Shadreck Manyere.

They are facing charges of banditry, terrorism and sabotage. Four of
their co-accused were released on bail by High Court Judge Yunus
Omerjee in February, but these three were not as fortunate as the State
claims they were in possession of explosive weapons. They deny the
charges and their lawyers say the police have so far not produced the
evidence' against their clients.

Arnold Tsunga, the Africa Programme Director for the International
Commission of Jurists, said this case exposes the fact that the
coalition government still has a long way to go in terms of ensuring
that the organs of the State operate in a manner that is accountable
and that ensures effective separation of powers.

He said: The judiciary in Zimbabwe has been severely undermined and
politicised to the extent that it thinks in an executive function. You
would have expected the Supreme Court, as the upper guardian of the
fundamental freedoms, to be able to make a decision that balances in
favour of the enjoyment of fundamental freedoms, rather than this
giving of the State the benefit of doubt, based on hazy and very
unclear allegations that they are making against these three.

Charles Kwaramba, one of the lawyers representing the three, said the
new bail hearing will be heard on Thursday. He said if this had been
an ordinary case the MDC officials and journalist would have been
released a long time ago but ulterior motives are coming in to play.

The MDC have repeatedly stated the continued detentions are against the
Global Political Agreement (GPA) and have no basis in law. Tsunga
believes the MDC is in a situation where they continue to make
concessions to ZANU PF and elements in the State, who are determined
not to allow the inclusive government to really take effect and allow a
full restoration of the rule of law.

The legal expert said: ZANU PF is playing a clear game of
accommodating the MDC in order to destroy it from inside. But at the
same time wanting to accommodate the MDC in order to gain domestic and
international capabilities.

Tsunga added that the MDC finds themselves hamstrung and confronted
with perennial breaches of the GPA, which should make it consider
pulling out. But the consequences of pulling out of the inclusive
government seem to create much more hazards and long term disadvantages
to the country, than to remain in the inclusive government and try to
apply pressure from within.

Meanwhile, seven students who were arrested at the National University
of Science and Technology (NUST) in Bulawayo on Monday, following a
demonstration over fees, are still locked up at the central police
station. Sheunesu Nyoni, Kurai Hoyi, Eddios Mucheuka, Vivid Gwede,
Kudakwashe Maguchu and two others were arrested following accusations
that they stoned a car belonging to a visitor on campus during the
demonstration. The students deny the accusation and say they protested
peacefully against the exorbitant fees which are pegged in foreign
currency and are beyond the means of most parents.

SWRadio Africa

Post published in: Politics

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