via SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe’s Independent Voice | SW Radio Africa 07 August 2014
HUMAN rights lawyers have intensified their bid to have 29 Chingwizi villagers arrested for public violence freed from detention after filing a bail application seeking their release.
In their bid to liberate the villagers, the lawyers on Tuesday 05 August 2014 first challenged the lawfulness of their arrest and their subsequent detention arguing that several of their constitutional rights were violated during the dragnet capture conducted by the police on Sunday 03 August 2014 and on Monday 04 August 2014.
On Wednesday 06 August 2014, the lawyers filed an application challenging the placement of their clients on remand on the basis that there was no reasonable suspicion that they had committed an offence and that the State had failed to indicate what each and everyone of the 29 villagers did so as to link them to the commission of the offence.
However, Chiredzi Magistrate Tayegwa Chibanda on Wednesday and Thursday dismissed the two applications leaving the lawyers to file the bail application on Thursday 07 August 2014.
In their bail application, the lawyers Blessing Nyamaropa, Phillip Shumba, Collin Maboke and Martin Mureri charged that the State had failed to submit compelling reasons to justify the continued detention of the 29 villagers who include an 84 year-old man, two teenagers and a toddler.
The lawyers also proposed that the State, which opposed bail on the basis that the 29 villagers could abscond as they were not permanent residents of Chingwizi but just being kept in a transit camp could have its fears allayed by the imposition of stringent bail conditions such as reporting to the police once every week, paying a $20 deposit and not interfere with State witnesses.
Magistrate Chibanda then reserved his ruling on the bail application to Friday 08 August 2014.
Meanwhile, some of the detained Chingwizi villagers’ health is at risk after going for almost one week without accessing their anti-retroviral drugs after they were arrested by the police.
During the bail application, the lawyers raised concern that one of the detainees Collin Tandare, who is a single parent had left her two children including one under the age of two years unattended and who were reportedly missing.
The State also attempted to justify the incarceration of 84 year-old Kandros Purazeni, who is a village head and Ellen Muteiwa, who is detained with her baby aged one-year eight months including some villagers who could not be linked to the alleged public violence as they were of poor health and living in their tents or were out of Chingwizi transit camp when the alleged offence was committed.