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Jubilation as court frees 7 accused of plotting to remove Mnangagwa

by Mandla Ndlovu
12 Aug 2020 at 11:31hrs | Views
There was jubilation in the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights ranks after a Harare court ended the prosecution of 7 activists who were accused of plotting to remove President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

ZLHR posted on Twitter that, "In Harare, what a spectacular end to the persecution of 7 pro-democracy campaigners who have been removed from remand today after they were arrested & charged with subverting constitutional government for plotting to overthrow President Emmerson Mnangagwa's govt.

"Represented by ZLHR the seven pro-democracy activists who came to be known as #Zimbabwe7 had endured attending court for 15 months without being put on trial. If convicted, they could have been imprisoned for up to 20 years in jail."

State security agents arrested all seven between May 20 and 27, 2019, at the Robert Mugabe International Airport in Harare, the capital, on their return from a workshop in the Maldives. The workshop, hosted by the Centre for Applied Nonviolent Action and Strategies, focused on peaceful resistance. The charge sheets against the activists specified the meeting and its training in civil disobedience.

Those arrested on May 20 were: George Makoni of the Centre for Community Development Trust; Nyasha Frank Mpahlo of Transparency International Zimbabwe; Tatenda Mombeyarara of the Citizens Manifesto; and Gamuchirai Mukura of Community Tolerance Reconciliation and Development Trust. The following day the authorities arrested Farirai Gumbonzvanda, a girls' rights activist and community volunteer with the Rozaria Memorial Trust. On May 27, they arrested Stabile Dewa of Women's Academy for Leadership and Political Excellence and Rita Nyampinga of the Female Prisoners Support Trust.

Under Section 22 of Zimbabwe's Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, "subversion of a constitutional government" is a treason charge. It carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.



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