Zimbabwe: Thursday, 30 August 2012 - Issue 422

press release

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) has added voice over the illegal prolonged incarceration of 29 MDC members who were arrested last year on false charges of murdering a police officer in Glen View.

In a statement, ZimRights said August 2012 marks the 15th month of detention for the "29 Glen View" residents who are facing false charges of assaulting and murdering a police officer.

"Inspector Petros Mutedza was murdered on 29 May 2011, after which the police embarked on an indiscriminate clampdown on the suburb's residents most of which are perceived members of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)," ZimRights said.

"It is now approximately 450 days with the matter pending before the courts, moving at a snail pace and accused persons in detention. No progress has occurred regarding the trial since July due to the court's indefinite postponement of the case because of the deteriorating health of one of the accused persons. Due to such a reason plus the coinciding court vacation, the SW Radio Africa projected that the trial might possibly resume sometime in September," said ZimRights.

The human rights organisation said State witnesses that have testified have failed to provide consistent information pointing to how the unfortunate incident ensued. Even the police have given contradicting statements to the extent that the court had to visit the crime scene on 26 June 2012 for an "inspection in loco".

"Zimbabwe Human Rights Association therefore demands finalization of the matter to ensure restoration of liberties to those who are innocent. There is no justification for the incessant deprivation of their right to freedom.

"It is distressing and inhuman to keep a person for almost two years without defining his/her fate. This is a clear indication of lack of objectivity in the way Zimbabwean law, security and judiciary systems are run. Responsible authorities must define the fate for the 29 accused persons without further delay," it said.

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