Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Zimbabwe Alert Update: Police launch manhunt for released freelance photojournalist


On 24 April 2009, Zimbabwe’s Police launched a search for freelance journalist; Anderson Shadreck Manyere who was recently released on bail from Chikurubi Maximum Prison together with co-accused Movement for Democratic Change activist Gandhi Mudzingwa and Kisimusi Dhlamini.

The trio were granted bail by High Court Judge Charles Hungwe on 9 April 2009, and were released on 17 April, 2009 as their lawyers were unaware of the fact that State Prosecutor Chris Mutangadura had on 14 April, 2009 noted an appeal against the bail grant before Justice Bhunu. The appeal immediately evoked Section 121 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act (CPEA) which sets out the procedure for an appeal against bail.

The application was granted the same day that Manyere was released from Chikurubi Maximum Prison and automatically suspended the decision by Justice Hungwe to liberate the accused persons.

With the granting of the application, the police on 20 April, 2009 immediately re-arrested Gandhi Mudzingwa and Kisimusi Dhlamini who were admitted at the Avenues Clinic hospital and are presently searching for Manyere whose whereabouts are still unknown. In interviews with the media after his release, Manyere says he was severely tortured, denied food and medication while in police custody.

Manyere went missing after he had taken his vehicle to a garage in Norton about 40km west of Harare on 13 December 2008 until his appearance in court on 24 December 2008 together with Zimbabwe Peace Project Director, Jestina Mukoko.

He is charged under section 23 (1), (2) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act which criminalises acts of insurgence, banditry, sabotage or terrorism or alternatively Section 143 of the same Act which relates to aggravating circumstances in relation to malicious damage to property.

His first for bail application before the High Court on 19 February 2009 was dismissed by Justice Yunis Omerjee. Justice Omerjee subsequently granted him leave to apply to the Supreme Court.

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