An anti-President Robert Mugabe cleric, who protested against the government by chaining and locking himself against the steel rails at Africa Unity Square, yesterday appeared at the Harare Magistrates’ Court facing criminal nuisance charges.
Source: Chained protesting cleric appears in court – NewsDay Zimbabwe November 25, 2016
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
Patrick Philip Mugadza (46) was not asked to plead when he appeared before Harare magistrate, Vongai Muchuchuti, who remanded him out of custody to December 14 on free bail.
Mugadza was represented by Gift Mtisi from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.
Prior to the granting of bail, Mtisi had challenged his client’s placement on remand, arguing he had committed no offence to warrant placing him on remand.
Mtisi told the court that police officers allowed Mugadza to be tortured in their custody, while detained at Parliament’s guardroom, by people who were in civilian clothes. Mtisi further told the court that Mugadza was not advised of the charges, only to be told four hours after the arrest.
However, the arresting officer, Cosmas Matanha, who testified on the allegations of torture, denied assaulting Mugadza, adding the cleric was advised of the charges he was facing before arrest.
During cross-examination, Mtisi asked Matanha why Mugadza was arrested and he told the court that the cleric was making noise and disturbing peace.
Mtisi asked the officer why they seized the pastor’s chain and lock if he had committed an offence of making noise.
The officer said he had also committed criminal nuisance, as the chain was locked on a State property.
Mtisi further asked Matanha why the police did not confiscate his Bible, which was the tool he was using to preach, thereby, making noise and the officer failed to answer.
Allegations against the pastor are that on Tuesday, police from the reaction group were on patrol at Africa Unity Square, when they allegedly heard Mugadza shouting at the top of his voice disturbing people who were passing through the park.
The police officers allegedly proceeded to where Mugadza was and noticed he had chained himself by the waist to the steel rails in the park.
The State alleges Mugadza had positioned himself directly opposite to the Parliament building.
The State alleges Mugadza made annoying noise while facing the Parliament entrance.
Audrey Chogumaira appeared for the State.