HARARE Magistrate Bianca Makwande on Monday 15 June 2020 ordered
Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) to allow three
victims of abduction and torture, who she condemned to prison after
denying them bail, to be allowed access to food brought by their
lawyers after they complained of starvation while in detention.
Magistrate Makwande denied bail to Harare West legislator Hon. Joana
Mamombe aged 27 years, Cecelia Chimbiri aged 31 years and Netsai
Marova aged 25 years, who appeared before her after they were arrested
by Zimbabwe Republic Police members and charged with publishing or
communicating false statements prejudicial to the state as defined in
section 31(a)(ii) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act
and publishing or communicating false statements prejudicial to the
state as defined in section 31(a)(iii) of the Criminal Law
(Codification and Reform) Act.The trio was also charged with defeating or obstructing the course of
justice as defined in section 184(1)(f) of the Criminal Law
(Codification and Reform) Act.
Magistrate Makwande told Hon. Mamombe, Chimbiri and Marova that she
vetoed their bail application after being convinced that there were
compelling reasons not to admit them to bail.
The Magistrate who remanded the trio in custody to 26 June 2020
ordered ZPCS to allow Hon. Mamombe, Chimbiri and Marova to be treated
for ailments sustained when they were abducted and disappeared by some
unidentified people on 13 May 2020.
The trio’s lawyers Alec Muchadehama, Jeremiah Bamu, Roselyn Hanzi and
Tinomuda Shoko of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, told Magistrate
Makwande that their clients were starving in prison and had not eaten
since Friday as ZPCS officers were not allowing them to get food
coming from their lawyers when they visit them at Chikurubi Maximum
Prison, where they are detained.
The abductees’ lawyers advised Magistrates Makwande that they will
challenge the placement of their clients on remand when they return to
court on 26 June 2020.
Hon. Mamombe, Chimbiri and Marova went missing on 13 May 2020, when
they were abducted in Harare and were found on 15 May 2020 after being
dumped in Bindura in Mashonaland Central province.
They have already been charged with committing public violence after
they were arrested on 26 May 2020 for allegedly participating in an
anti-government protest against hunger during the national lockdown
period as defined in section 37 of the Criminal Law (Codification and
Reform) Act and for contravening section 5(3) (a) as read with section
5(1) of Statutory Instrument 99 of 2020 of Public Health (COVID-19
Prevention, Containment and Treatment) (National Lockdown) Order, 2020
and will stand trial in August.