State has no evidence, as activists rot in jail

May 24, 2012 at 10:10 am Leave a comment

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk

The case against 29 MDC-T members accused of murdering a police officer in
Glen View in May last year is set to crumble as the State’s evidence is
weak, lawyers representing the activists have said.

by Tapiwa Zivira

The activists, most of whom are still being held in custody a year later,
are expected to appear before the High Court on June 4.

Allegations are that the 29 allegedly took part in the murder of Asst Insp
Petros Mutedza during a confrontation between MDC-T members, who were
holding a meeting in the populous Glen View suburb, and the police, who had
come to disperse the meeting, claiming it was illegally convened.

The activists, it is alleged, attacked the police with stones, resulting in
Mutedza’s death. Immediately after the murder, police launched a massive
crackdown in most southwestern suburbs.

Solomon Madzore, the MDC-T National Youth Chairman, is among the accused –
but was only arrested in September 2011. His repeated attempts to be
remanded out of custody have failed.

“About 25 of them are saying they were not even at the meeting or the scene
of the murder and four are saying they were present but fled when the police
arrived to dismiss the meeting. They have strong alibis,” their lawyer,
Charles Kwaramba, told The Zimbabwean.

He said the autopsy shows that Mutedza could not have been murdered by more
than three people.

“The post mortem shows one blow and a few bruises in the head and this
cannot be said to be a result of the actions of many people,” he said.

“The State’s witnesses are also not claiming to have seen any single
individual taking part in the murder but are just saying they saw a group of
people wearing MDC-T regalia, which does not confirm that our 29 clients are
the ones who took part in the murder,” added Kwaramba.

The case demonstrates a tendency by some politicians to victimise their
clients, he said.

“They (unspecified politicians) are just happy to have MDC-T people in
custody, and they do it carelessly because if the post mortem can show that
the murder was not committed by many people, why keep 29 people in custody?”
he said.

Turning to the activists’ treatment in custody, Kwaramba said the accused
were badly treated by prison officials.

“They are not getting medical treatment. We have one who has a broken arm
after being assaulted in police custody and there is another whose private
parts are swollen but no doctor has come to see him,” said Kwaramba.

A year after the Glen View incident, the trial has failed to kick off and no
evidence linking the 29 activists to the murder has been presented in court.
On numerous occasions, the High Court has failed to sit because either the
judge, Justice Chinembiri Bhunu, or the prosecutor have been “not feeling
well”, away doing “other business”, attending a funeral, or “not ready to
proceed”.

In a recent statement, the MDC-T lambasted what it called the State’s and
the Judiciary’s unjustified manoeuvres to continue to “imprison, persecute
and harass innocent and peace-loving Zimbabweans whose only crimes are to be
members of a political party that is fighting to bring about democracy”.

The party has continually expressed concerns that the accused are living in
inhumane conditions, with two of the female inmates, Rebecca Masvikeni and
Yvonne Musarurwa, in solitary confinement in the male section at Chikurubi
Maximum Prison.

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