Rights champion denied bail

HARARE Rights activist Farai Maguwu has been refused bail in a case involving passing information on diamond-mining violations to the international diamond control body.

Maguwu was arrested on June 3 and denies charges of possessing false information on killings, torture and the names of perpetrators, along with stolen state security documents. The offences carry a penalty of up to 20 years in jail.

Judge Chinembiri Bhunu ruled the allegations bordered on treachery and justified his detention until police investigations into the case were complete.

He said state prosecutors alleged Maguwu made a living from publishing false information detrimental to his country. That kind of behaviour, if proved, is treacherous and abominable, Bhunu said.

He said Maguwu’s claims of mistreatment in custody were not enough to secure his release.

Bhunu said documents allegedly produced by Maguwu and his Centre for Research and Development in the eastern city of Mutare near the diamond fields purported to contain hospital records, mortuary reports and burial orders of victims, and interviews with survivors who identified at least eight perpetrators of atrocities in the Chiadzwa diamond district, mostly senior police officers.

The judge said the documents spoke of sightings of dead bodies and victims who had been abused heavily by police, soldiers and security guards.

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