Fresh onslaught against Muchadehama

Deputy Chief Justice Luke Malaba will today hear an appeal filed by Attorney General (AG) Johannes Tomana requesting the Supreme Court to allow a late appeal by his office against the freeing of crusading human rights lawyer, Alec Muchadehama and Constance Gambara, a clerk to High Court Judge Justice Chinembiri Bhunu on charges of contempt of court under Section 182 (1) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act (Chapter 9:23).

Alec Muchadehama
Alec Muchadehama

Tomana accuses Muchadehama and Gambara of facilitating the improper release of Andrison Manyere, a freelance journalist and senior Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) officials Gandhi Mudzingwa and Chris Dhlamini. The three men were abducted and tortured by State security agents during the period they were under State sponsored enforced disappearance in late 2008.

The three men were later admitted to bail but the AG argued they were released when the bail granted was being appealed against. High Court Judge Justice Joseph Musakwa in 2010 dismissed the AG’s chamber application for leave to appeal against the Magistrates Court’s acquittal of Muchadehama and Gambara.

The two were acquitted in December 2009. The AG failed to appeal against Justice Musakwa’s ruling on time, and has now filed an application for late noting of the appeal.

In his application to the Supreme Court which will be heard in chambers on Wednesday 15 February 2012 at 10:00 hours, Tomana argues that he still has chances of getting the acquittal overturned.

Roderick Tokwe, a prosecutor handling the case at the time Justice Musakwa dismissed the AG’s application for leave to appeal stated in the Supreme Court application that he failed to file the appeal on time partly because he was fighting a messy divorce.

Muchadehama, who has won multiple awards for his human rights work, has repeatedly stated his innocence.

Police arrested him on the matter in 2009 at the Harare Magistrates Court as he attended to other cases involving his clients. His harassment caused uproar, with coalition government partner MDC, lawyers’ bodies and international human groups voicing concern at the targeting of Muchadehama by State security and judicial apparatus.

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