Third night in custody for those arrested at ZINASU meeting

On Monday 26 September 2016, Magistrate Poterai Gwezhira postponed the matter involving the 17 arrested at a ZINASU meeting to 27 September 2016.

court2The 17, arrested on 24 September were attending a ZINASU council meeting at Forestry Industry Training Centre in Penhalonga. They are being charged with disorderly conduct in a public place as defined in section 41(b) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act. Additional charges of failure to notify the police of a gathering  as defined in section 25(5) of the Public Order and Security Act, and insulting or undermining the president as defined in section 33 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act have been placed on two students.

ZLHR members Tinoziva Bere, Blessing Nyamaropa and Chris Ndlovu who are representing the 17 during their initial appearance in court argued that their clients must be released as the arrest was unlawful. Lawyers submitted that the police had failed to respect the rights of accused as provided in section 50 of the Constitution. The lawyers particularly argued that the 17 were not promptly informed of the reasons of their arrest as stated in section 50 of the Constitution and section 41(a) of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act (CPEA).

The lawyers  argued that their clients must be released in according to section 41(6)(c) of the CPEA which clearly states that an accused person should be released if the Court finds the arrest to be unlawful.

They also told the Court that there was disregard to the dignity of female students who were denied access to sanitary ware. Some of the female students were also harrassed and threatened with unspecified action by a plain clothed man at Penhalonga police station.

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