12 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Media Barred in MDC-T Activists Trial

A STATE witness in the trial of the 21 MDC-T activists accused of murdering a police officer in Glen View in 2011 yesterday testified in camera at the Harare magistrates' courts after indicating that she was not comfortable giving evidence in an open court because of the threats she received.

The media was barred from covering the case, with Chief Superintendent Charles Ngirishi ordering journalists out in the presence of riot police.

The case had been moved from the High Court to the Victim Friendly Court (VFC) at the request of the Attorney General's Office. The State witness, Edinah Chihota, was expected to give evidence on a closed circuit television screened from a separate room.

Justice Chinembiri Bhunu recently granted the prosecution's application for Ms Chihota to testify at the VFC at the Harare magistrates' court. Mr Edmore Nyazamba from the Attorney-General's Office confirmed the media was barred because of the High Court application for Chihota to testify in the absence of the media.

"It is a result of the application we made at the High Court such that her (Chihota) evidence will not be published," he said.

The MDC-T activists are accused of murdering Inspector Petros Mutedza, who was stationed at Borrowdale Police Station and attached to the police reaction group.

He died after being allegedly attacked by the MDC-T youths on May 29 in 2011 while investigating an illegal meeting they were holding at Glen View 3 Shopping Centre. His colleague sustained injuries during the alleged attack.

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