Prominent Trade Unionist Convicted For Tweeting

Prominent Trade Unionist Convicted For Tweeting

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A ZIMBABWEAN court has convicted Obert Masaraure, a prominent trade unionist, after he stood trial following his arrest for allegedly using social media platform X to protest against the prosecution and persecution of a fellow trade union leader.

Masaraure’s trial commenced in 2023 after he was arrested by Zimbabwe Republic Police officers on 8 July 2022 and charged with defeating or obstructing the course of justice as defined in Section 184(1)(c) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act alternatively incitement to commit public violence as defined in Section 187(1)(a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act as read with Section 36(1)(a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

During trial, prosecutors alleged that Masaraure, who is the leader of Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ), authored a statement which he reportedly published on X, a popular microblogging platform and on ARTUZ website, which was meant to prejudice his pending trial on alleged murder charges and that of ARTUZ Secretary-General Robson Chere on alleged murder charges too and to persuade the teachers’ union members and the general public to commit public violence.

On Wednesday 22 May 2024, Harare Magistrate Feresi Chakanyuka convicted Masaraure, who had been out of prison custody on bail and who was represented by Tapiwa Muchineripi of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, after concluding that he was guilty of defeating or obstructing the course of justice.

Masaraure, who was immediately remanded in custody pending some formalities for pre-sentencing enquiries, will return to court on Thursday 23 May 2024, where Magistrate Chakanyuka is expected to hand down her sentence after convicting the ARTUZ leader.

ENDS

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