By Tichaona Sibanda
SW Radio Africa
22 January 2014
High Court Judge Chinembiri Bhunu on Tuesday reserved judgement on a bail application, filed by defence lawyers for the three Glen View activists still held in custody at Chikurubi Maximum security prison.
Last Maingehama, Yvonne Musarurwa and Tungamirai Madzokere, plus 26 other activists, were arrested in 2011 on allegations of murdering police officer Petros Mutedzi during disturbances in Glen View.
Their co-accused were granted bail in November 2012 and September last year, but Maingehama, Musarurwa and Madzokere have remained behind bars after Judge Bhunu ruled that they were a flight risk.
Twenty-one of the MDC-T supporters accused of murdering the police inspector were acquitted by Judge Bhunu in September last year after he ruled that none of the evidence put forward by the State implicated them on the murder charge.
Seven of the accused will, however, have to defend themselves in court when the murder trial resumes on February 24th. The other four, who were bailed last year but will appear in court next month, are Lazarus Maengahama, Edwin Muingiri, Phineas Nhatarikwa, and Paul Rukanda.
Another activist, Rebecca Mafukeni, died last year while still detained at Chikurubi, following several unsuccessful bail attempts.
Defence lawyer Charles Kwaramba told SW Radio Africa on Wednesday that there was a chamber hearing on Tuesday where Judge Bhunu reserved judgement on the latest bail application for the trio.
Kwaramba said they felt the three had spent so much time behind bars without a trial and believed they were the right candidates for bail. The activists have always complained that their rights to a speedy trial are being violated.
Promise Mkwananzi, the secretary-general of the MDC-T youth assembly, said the activists’ case can best be described as a miscarriage of justice that has continued from 2011.
‘It’s the darkest hour of justice delivery system in Zimbabwe,’ said Mkwananzi, adding that the incarceration and trial of the activists was a ZANU PF plot to weaken the MDC-T.
Some of those who were acquitted have notified police commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri of their intention to sue after spending over two years in prison under inhuman conditions.
The acquitted activists said they wore clothes which exposed their private parts, lost their jobs and were subjected to ill-prepared non nutritious food while in prison. Five of the 21 activists have written demanding $65,000 each for the emotional stress they went through in remand and defamation of their characters.