Freelance journalist challenges fine for contravening Covid-19 curfew

HARARE Magistrate Barbra Mateko has ordered the Officer In Charge of Marimba Police Station to investigate and provide her with information in relation to how freelance journalist Edgar Gweshe was compelled to pay RTGS$500 fine for allegedly contravening curfew regulations and yet he was arrested before 10:PM, which was the scheduled curfew time when people were restricted from moving around unnecessarily.


Gweshe was arrested on 12 June 2021 and detained overnight at Marimba
Police Station and was released on 13 June 2021 after paying RTGS$500
fine. Through his lawyer Tinashe Chinopfukutwa of Zimbabwe Lawyers for
Human Rights, Gweshe wrote a letter to the Provincial Magistrate at
Harare Magistrates Court protesting and arguing that he was arrested
at 8:PM way before 10:PM, which was the scheduled curfew early in

The freelance journalist says he had refused to pay the fine after
explaining his circumstances before his arrest to some ZRP officers
but he ended up paying the RTGS$500 fine under protest and desperation
to regain his freedom and dignity which had been violated for several
hours by ZRP officers who did not allow him access to food and water
and to call his lawyers while in detention. Gweshe was only allowed
access to water around 3:PM on 13 June 2021.

Mateko said judicial officers at Harare Magistrate Court are
conducting investigations into Gweshe’s complaint for them to assess
whether they can proceed in terms of section 356 of the Criminal
Procedure and Evidence Act, which provides for the setting aside of
Gweshe’s conviction and to be refunded once a judicial officer is
satisfied that the freelance journalist should not have been

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