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Six human rights activists appear in court

by Stephen Jakes
05 Sep 2015 at 08:13hrs | Views
Six activists who were arrested for visiting 16 members of the National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe (NAVUZ), who were detained for more than two weeks at Chikhurubi remand prison in July have been summoned to court.

They appeared at the Harare Magistrates Court on Thursday, September 3, 2015, at 8 am in Court 5 on charges of causing disturbances and disobeying orders of prison guards who fired a warning shot at the prison, which they deny.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) posted that Gift Mtisi and Tonderai Bhatasara, who are members of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), are representing the activists.

OUR POSITION: ZimRights National Chairperson, Passmore Nyakureba, said: "We repeat our call that there has generally been harassment of human rights activists which must end. We call upon the government to consider human rights activists as partners rather than opponents in the efforts to improve the welfare of the people. This is also a reminder that the new constitution that we have which has a rich Bill of Rights, particularly rights of people to freely express themselves must be upheld."

Three of the activists, Mfundo Mlilo, the executive director of Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) and spokesperson of Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC), Nixon Nyikadzino, the program manager of CiZC, and Dirk Frey, the acting chairperson of Occupy Africa Unity Square (OAUS), had been arrested while attending a court session of three other activists at the Magistrates Court.

They had later been released, before the fresh summons, in a landmark ruling after being detained at Harare Central Police Station beyond the constitutionally permissible 48 hours.

The other three, Edgar Gweshe, a freelance journalist, Don Makuwaza, the mobilisation and recruitment officer with Chitungwiza Residents Trust (CHITREST) and Charles Nyoni of OAUS, have been on remand out of custody on US$ 50 bail each.

But, after allegedly being tortured in the custody of prison guards and police officers in transit to Harare Central Police Station at the time of their arrest.

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Source - Byo24News