13 November 2012

Zimbabwe: MDC-T Youth Leader Granted Bail After Year in Custody

MDC-T youth assembly President Solomon Madzore was on Tuesday released on $500 bail, after spending over a year in custody in connection with the alleged murder of police inspector Petros Mutedza in May last year.

Another activist, Lovemore Taruvinga Magaya, was also granted the same bail as Madzore. 26 other MDC-T activists, who were arrested and charged with the killing of Mutedza, remain in jail.The MDC-T insists the charges are 'trumped-up.'

Cynthia Manjoro was released on bail last month by High Court judge Justice Chinembiri Bhunu, after Cynthia's defence council, led by Beatrice Mtetwa, was able prove to the court that she was not near the scene on the fateful day.

State prosecutor Edmore Nyazamba also consented to the granting of bail to Madzore because of his solid alibi. The day Matedza was killed Madzore drove his wife to see a doctor at Machipisa shopping centre in Highfields.

Clifford Hlatshwayo, the youth assembly spokesman, told SW Radio Africa it is clear their activists have no case to answer as the trial is based on hearsay evidence. He said they were delighted Madzore and Magaya were out but would not celebrate until the others are released.

'Of course this is great news, can you image spending over a year in custody for something you did not do. This is a political game and we've always insisted the state is wasting its resources and time in trying to convict innocent people,' Hlatshwayo said.

The MDC-T deputy Justice Minister, Senator Obert Gutu, said Madzore's incarceration for over a year is an example of a gross miscarriage of justice.

He said from day one there were no reasonable grounds to arrest Madzore when evidence on the ground clearly showed he was nowhere near Glen View.

'Whilst we celebrate his release and that of Magaya, let us as lawyers and the judiciary service take this as a classic example of how law can be bastardized and abused to settle political scores,' Gutu added.

On the strength of Madzore and Manjoro's release on bail the trial judge and prosecution, at the request of the defence team, have agreed to look at the bail application of the other activists on an individual basis.

That process, according to Hlatswayo, is expected to begin this Friday and there are hopes that more of activists will be released in the coming weeks.

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