25 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Machisa Breaks Down in Court After Fourth Bail Hearing Postponment

ZimRights head Okay Machisa broke down in court on Friday due to "inordinate delays" in determining his bail application, according to the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR).

Machisa cried in court after High Court Judge Felistas Chatukuta postponed the bail application again to Monday, saying she had still not been furnished with the full record of the case by the Criminal Registrar.

This is the fourth time that the human rights campaigner has been denied bail since his arrest last week, on charges of voter registration fraud and forgery.

ZLHR chairperson Andrew Makoni told SW Radio Africa that bail applications are urgent matters and therefore it is "disturbing" that the High Court judge has still not been furnished with the full transcript of the records of proceeding from the lower court.

The ZLHR said in a statement that Machisa battled to come to terms with 'his persecution' and shed some tears as Zimbabwe Prison Service officials shackled him in leg irons.

"He later composed himself and demonstrated his fortitude by singing the lyrics 'ini musandicheme, zvichemei nevana venyu panguva inouya muchachema' from prominent gospel musician Charles Charamba," the statement read.

The judge denied requests by defense lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa to stand the matter down in order to bring the Criminal Registrar to explain in court why he did not furnish the judge with the full record.

Makoni said the high court judge might not be at fault because he has to see the transcripts before he can formulate an opinion "but when the magistrate's court is failing to furnish the High Court with a full record of the proceeding is something at this stage we cannot tolerate."

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