Thursday, April 21, 2011

(NEWZIMBABWE) Attorney General set to drop Gwisai treason charges

Attorney General set to drop Gwisai treason charges
by Staff Reporter
21/04/2011 00:00:00

THE Attorney General is set to drop treason charges against former Highfield MP Munyaradzi Gwisai and five others, but they could still face prosecution for the lesser crime of holding an illegal gathering.

At a routine remand hearing on Wednesday, Edmore Nyazamba of the AG’s office indicated the five men and a woman would stand trial before a regional magistrate on July 18.

But only the High Court can try an individual for treason, a clear indication, said legal observers, that prosecutors were climbing down from the heavy charge of treason which carries the death penalty.

Gwisai was originally arrested and charged with 45 others after they attended a lecture in Harare on February 10, organised by the International Socialist Organisation (ISO), at which prosecutors say they watched videos of uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia.

Prosecutors accused the 34 men and 11 women of “attempting to circumvent a sitting government” through unconstitutional means, namely by engaging in Egyptian-style illegal street protests.

But a magistrate dropped charges against 39 of the group, while indicting Gwisai, Hopewell Gumbo, Eddison Chakuma, Antonater Choto, Tatenda Mombeyarara and Welcome Zimuto to stand trial for treason.

The magistrate found that there was a prima facie case that the six had uttered “treasonous statements”, but said the group of 39 had committed no crime by simply “listening to treasonous utterances”.

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