23 June 2014

Zimbabwe: Sunday Mail Editor Refused Bail, Remanded to July 7

Photo: The Herald
Sunday Mail editor, Edmund Kudzayi.

Sunday Mail editor, Edmund Kudzayi was refused bail and remanded in custody to July 7 when he appeared in court Monday.

Kudzayi was arrested last Thursday and appeared first appeared in court on Saturday looking every bit the editor of the country's best-selling newspaper in a checked jacket, sky blue shirt, red tie and navy blue trousers.

But on Monday he was reduced to prison fatigues, complete with leg irons. Defence lawyer, Admire Rubaya, asked for the leg restraints to be removed.

Remanding him in custody to July 7, Magistrate Vakayi Chikwekwe said the court had no jurisdiction over the charges Kudzayi faces.

Kudzayi is accused of insurgency, terrorism, banditry, sabotage and subverting a constitutionally elected government, as well as not securing firearms.

"The magistrates court does not have jurisdiction to preside over bail applications in respect of third schedule offences... ," said Chikwekwe.

Prosecutors will claim that Kudzayi was behind the internet character, Baba Jukwa who alleged to be a high ranking but disgruntled Zanu PF official.

Baba Jukwa became an internet sensation drawing more than 400,000 likes on Facebook by dishing out dirt and scandal about Zanu PF and its leaders in the lead-up to last year's elections.

Kudzayi's arrest has come as a surprise because journalists working for government-owned newspapers are hardly ever harassed by a State which never hesitates to detain those in the critical privately-owned media.

In addition Kudzayi, left his base in the UK to work with Zanu PF during last year's election campaign, a relationship which culminated in his appointment as Sunday Mail editor.

He was also believed to be behind the pro-Zanu PF blogger Amai Jukwa.

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