Friday, December 26, 2008

Zim judge orders release of 32 treason detainees

Zim judge orders release of 32 treason detainees
Written by George Chellah in Harare, Zimbabwe
Friday, December 26, 2008 11:46:28 AM

ZIMBABWE High Court judge Yunus Omerjee on Wednesday evening ordered the immediate release of Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) director Jestina Mukoko and 31 opposition MDC activists.

Mukoko and the MDC activists are accused by the state of recruiting people for military training in neighbouring Botswana.

But delivering his ruling, justice Omerjee declared the detention of Mukoko and the MDC activists illegal.

He ruled that Mukoko and eight others were to be released to Harare's Avenues Clinic under police guard.

The other eight suspects are Broderick Takawira, Gandhi Mudzingwa, Andrison Shadreck Manyere, Zacharia Nkomo, Mapfumo Garutse, Chinoto Zulu, Regis Mujeyi and Chris Dhlamini.

The court ruled that while in hospital, the accused will have access to their lawyers and relatives and they are to be released to the Avenues Clinic, which was their choice, after they claimed that they had been mistreated whilst in detention.

Justice Omerjee further ruled that the accused persons would be under guard until December 29, 2008 when they are expected to appear at the magistrate's court for a ruling on their application for refusal of remand.

The accused were released on the ruling of a previous High Court order, which declared their detention as illegal because they had been held for more than the stipulated 48 hours before being taken to court.

Meanwhile, 12 other suspected MDC activists that were to be released immediately after the High Court ruling are Violet Mupfuranhewe, Fidelis Chiramba, Collen Mutemagau, Concilia Chinanzvavana, Emmanuel Chinanzvavana, Fanwell Tembo, Larry Gaka, Pieta Kaseke, Terry Musoni, Agrippa Kakonda, Nigel Mutemagau and Lloyd Tarumbwa.

The High Court also ruled that the detention of 11 others, who were yet to be brought to court, was illegal as previously ruled, hence they should equally be released immediately.

The other 11 accused persons are Pascal Gonzo, Gwenzi Kahiya, Lovemore Machokota, Charles Muza, Tawanda Bvumo, Ephraim Mabeka, Edmore Vangirai, Peter Munyanyi, Bothwell Pasipamire, Graham Matehwa and a Makwedzadzimba.

According to the state's submissions, Mukoko and eight others are accused of recruiting people for military training in Botswana.

The state alleges that they were recruiting people to undergo military training in Botswana with a view of forcibly deposing the present government and replacing it with the Morgan Tsvangirai led government.

The charge has been denied by their defence team.

It is being alleged that in April 2008, a Mr. Manuel recruited Ricardo Hwasheni, a police constable based at Waterfalls in Harare to undergo military training in Botswana with a view to forcibly deposing the government.

Manuel allegedly tasked Hwasheni to recruit four other policemen, promising them US$2,000 each.

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