20 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Fresh Bail Application for Glen View 5 MDC Members

press release

The bail of the five of the 31 MDC members who are in remand prison on spurious charges of murdering a police officer in Glen View, Harare in 2011 will be heard on Wednesday at the High Court.

The five, Last Maengahama, an MDC national executive member, Harare councillor, Tungamirai Madzokere, Simon Mapanzure, Yvonne Musarurwa and Rebecca Mafukeni have been in remand prison since their arrest in 2011.

They were denied bail after the State said they were a flight risk. The other 26 were granted bail at the end of last year. However, a fresh application for bail was made by the defence lawyers who argued that there was need to have a re-look on the bail application.

The trial judge, Justice Chinembiri Bhunu reserved judgment to Wednesday.

Last week, the State prosecutor, Edmore Nyazamba sought postponement in the High Court trial so that a Cuban pathologist who did an autopsy on the police officer is called to testify. However, the defence team opposed the State's application arguing that it was not justified.

"My Lord, the State lacks seriousness. My learned colleague is failing to note that some of the accused persons are in custody with four of them placed in solitary confinement. Their lives are on a complete standstill for 20 months. It is not only insensitive but a big challenge to them and also against the law," said the defence lawyers.

Maengahama, Musarurwa, Mafukeni and Mapanzure are being kept in solitary confinement at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison while Councillor Madzokere is at the Harare Remand Prison.

Meanwhile, a Mutare magistrate is expected to make his ruling on Thursday in the case in which the MDC Manicaland chairperson, Julius Magarangoma is facing attempted murder charges.

The charges against Magarangoma were made on 18 October 2012.

During the trial the two main State witnesses Esteri Manyadza, 73, and her husband Tichaengwa Manyadza, 84, gave incompatible evidence against Magarangoma, clearly making the case a made up charge.

The continued persecution of MDC members will not distract the party from its broader agenda of bringing real transformation in Zimbabwe. This harassment will only help to strengthen the party's resolve to bring real change in Zimbabwe.

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