via Komichi remains at maximum prison as 5th bail appeal looms | SW Radio Africa by Tererai Karimakwenda on Friday, September 27, 2013
Morgan Komichi, the MDC-T Deputy National Chairperson, remains in detention at Chikurubi Maximum Prison after his lawyers filed another bail application at the High Court.
This will be the fifth time lawyers have tried to secure his release, having been denied at both the Magistrates’ and the High Court. Komichi is accused of violating electoral laws when he served as the chief polling agent for MDC-T president Morgan Tsvangirai earlier this year.
Defence lawyer Alec Muchadehama told SW Radio Africa Friday that he had filed a fresh application against the Magistrates refusal to grant Komichi bail, but the High Court needs some documents from the Magistrates Court before the bail appeal can proceed.
“The High Court wants to see reasons for the Magistrates’ denial to grant bail and these reasons are contained in a record that is being kept by the Magistrates Court. So while the appeal is pending at the High Court, the trail continues at the Magistrates Court,” Muchadehama explained.
The lawyer said he expects to get this case record by Monday.
The last bail application, which was the fourth, was dismissed on Tuesday by Magistrate Tendai Mahwe, who ruled that the prosecution has a strong case against Komichi and he was likely to abscond if released on bail.
Komichi was arrested on 28th July this year and charged with ‘committing fraud’. The charges relate to ballot papers which he brought to the electoral commission (ZEC), saying they had been found dumped in a dustbin at the Harare International Conference Centre.
The venue was being used as a Special Vote processing centre and Komichi told ZEC he had found the ballots in response to an anonymous tip-off. But ZEC officials dismissed his version of events and instead accused him of tampering with ballot papers ahead of the July 31st elections.
Asked if his client’s spirits are still high, Muchadehama said: “So far as I can understand I think he is the only political prisoner in Zimbabwe. I know no-one who has been arrested over such issues who is languishing in prison. I think he must be feeling quite abandoned by the system.”
The case has dragged on in the Magistrates Court since elections were held in July, following the harassment and arrests of several human rights activists and MDC-T officials accused of illegally conducting voter education.
In an analysis Thursday, the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum said Komichi’s case depicts the story of a man who is suffering the full wrath of the state and its institutions.”