As Mahere awaits decision on challenge of legality of arrest
FREELANCE journalist Hopewell Chin’ono and Zengeza West constituency
legislator Hon. Job Sikhala have protested against ill-treatment by
Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service (ZPCS) officers, who are
discriminating them against other prisoners by bringing them to court
while handcuffed and shackled in leg irons and defying court orders.Although Harare Magistrate Lazini Ncube had ordered ZPCS officers to
transport Chin’ono to and from prison separately from other prisoners
to minimise the risk of spreading coronavirus as the freelance
journalist is a recent contact of some people who tested positive to
coronavirus, the prison guards defied the court order and continued to
ferry him together with other inmates.Chin’ono’s lawyers Harrison Nkomo, Paidamoyo Saurombe and Gift Mtisi
of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) told Magistrate Ncube that
ZPCS officers were defying a court order issued by Ncube ordering the
prison guards not to handcuff or shackle the freelance journalist in
Hon. Sikhala’s lawyers Jeremiah Bamu, Nkomo and Saurombe, who appeared
before Magistrate Ngoni Nduna, also protested against the
ill-treatment of their client, who was brought to court while
handcuffed and in leg irons.
The lawyers protested that ZPCS officers were discriminating against
Chin’ono and Hon. Sikhala as they were the only ones being shacked
while other prisoners including those facing serious offences such as
rape were not being subjected to such ill-treatment.
Assistant Commissioner Gapare from ZPCS will appear in court on Friday
15 January 2021 and respond to allegations of ill-treatment raised by
Chin’ono, whose application for refusal of remand was dismissed on
Wednesday 13 January 2021 by Magistrate Ncube, will return to court on
Thursday 14 January 2021, where a ruling on his bail application will
be handed down.
Hon. Sikhala, who also had his application for refusal of remand
dismissed by Magistrate Nduna, will return to court too on Thursday 14
January 2021 for continuation of his bail application before
Meanwhile, opposition MDC-Alliance party spokesperson Advocate Fadzayi
Mahere will return to court on Friday 15 January 2021, where
Magistrate Trynos Utahwashe will hand down his ruling on her
application challenging the State’s bid to place her on remand on
charges of publishing or communicating false statements prejudicial to
the state as defined in section 31(a)(i) of the Criminal Law
(Codification and Reform) Act alternatively section 31(a)(iii) of the
Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
Advocate Mahere, who is represented by David Drury and Andria Dracos
of Honey and Blanckenberg Legal Practitioners and is assisted by
Tinashe Chinopfukutwa of ZLHR, was arrested by Zimbabwe Republic
Police (ZRP) members on Sunday 10 January 2021.
On Tuesday 12 January 2021 when she appeared before Magistrate
Utahwashe, she raised several complaints against ZRP members, whom she
accused of detaining her in squalid cells at Harare Central Police
Station, which are not fit for habitation.
Advocate Mahere told Magistrate Utahwashe that suspects were not being
subjected to temperature checks and were not provided with face masks
while in detention cells.
The MDC-Alliance party spokesperson disclosed that detained women were
not being provided with sanitary ware and there was no toilet paper in
the detention cells which were reeking of stale urine.
Magistrate Utahwashe ordered the State to probe the complaints filed
by Advocate Mahere and provide him with a report by Friday 15 January