08 August 2014
A CHIREDZI Magistrate on Friday 08 August 2014 ended the detention of 25 out of 29 Chingwizi villagers who had been arrested and charged with committing public violence.
Chiredzi Magistrate Tayengwa Chibanda granted bail to the Chingwizi villagers who had endured five nights in both police and prison custody since their arrest on Sunday 03 August 2014 after their lawyers had applied for bail pending trial on the basis that the State had failed to submit compelling reasons to justify the continued detention of the 29 villagers who included an 84 year-old man, two teenagers and
Magistrate Chibanda ruled that the State which opposed the placing of the Chingwizi villagers had failed to convince him that they will skip the jurisdiction of the court, will interfere with State witnesses and had not submitted any reasonable evidence that they will flee to neighbouring countries. The Magistrate also ruled that the State's fear is not supported by any fact and had just made bold assertions which are not well grounded.
Magistrate Chibanda ruled that the villagers are of fixed abode as they have been staying in Chingwizi Transit Camp for the past six months in tents that are clearly marked hence it's difficult and impossible to conclude that they are of no fixed abode.
As part of the bail conditions, the Magistrate ordered the 25 villagers to deposit $30, to report once a week at their nearest police station, continue residing at their given residential addresses, not interfere with State witnesses and to inform the Officer in Charge of the nearest police post of their intention to leave Masvingo province.
The lawyers will now file an appeal in the High Court on behalf of the four villagers who were denied bail and remanded in custody to 5 September 2014.
ZLHR lawyers and project officers who are camped in Chingwizi will provide more real time updates including posts on ZLHR's closed Facebook group page and Twitter@ZLHRLawyers. The lawyers and project officers can be reached on ZLHR's mobile hotlines 0772 257 247, 0773 855 718 and 0773 855 611.