Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Mukoko and 12 other political detainees granted bail

By Violet Gonda
2 March 2009
13 MDC and civic activists, who had been abducted between the months of October and December last year, have finally been granted bail. The bulk of the activists were granted bail last Friday, but Jestina Mukoko, the Director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP), was granted bail on Monday. Lawyer Alex Muchadehama said a group of 16 people had been in police custody on allegations relating to plots of banditry and terrorism. 13 were granted bail and three are still appealing for bail in the High Court. Those three are MDC Security Officer Chris Dlamini, Morgan Tsvangirai’s former aide Gandhi Mudzingwa and photo-journalist Shadreck Anderson Manyere.
Muchadehama said of the 13 only seven have been able to meet the stringent bail conditions and are therefore free, while the remaining six are still in police custody as they have not been able to fulfill the bail conditions. The lawyer said they were ordered to provide title deeds of US$20 000, surrender their passports, pay a bail fee of US$600 and report to the police twice a week.So far only Mukoko, Broderick Takawira (also from the ZPP), Fidelis Chiramba and four others have been able to meet these bail conditions. He said the other six either don’t have travel documents or title deeds worth US$20 000.Muchadehama said for the last few months the police have denied knowing the whereabouts of about 10 other missing persons. But they have now said they will release these missing persons if the defence team drops court applications asking police to release them. This makes no sense but is apparently what the police are insisting upon. “If you withdraw applications seeking to identify where they are, they (police) were also prepared to release those people unconditionally. Without taking them to court, without charging them - notwithstanding whatever number they are, they said they are prepared to release them.” Muchadehama added.

He said the public prosecutor indicated to them that the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee and the President had directed the Attorney General to release the detainees. He said this is clear proof that there had never been any substance to the allegations of terrorism by the State but pure ‘political gamesmanship’. Muchadehama said: “This is not the rule of law, this is not justice. It’s politics taken to the wrong forum.”Those granted bail were: Concillia Chinanzavana, Manuel Chinanzvavana, Fidelis Chiramba, Violet Mupfuranhewe, Colin Mutemagawu, Pieta Kaseke, Audrice Mbudzana, Broderick Takawira, Zacharia Nkomo, Chinoto Zulu, Regis Mujeyi and Mapfumo Gautsa and Mukoko.

Meanwhile the MDC Deputy Minister of Agriculture designate Roy Bennett remains in jail.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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