SW Radio Africa news - The Independent Voice of Zimbabwe

Judge orders state prosecutors to produce video evidence

By Lance Guma
20 July 2009

High Court Judge Tedious Karwi has ordered state prosecutors to produce the video evidence which they claim incriminates several activists abducted last year over terrorism and banditry charges. The activists have been appearing in court in different groups and on Monday it was the turn of Jestina Mukoko, Manuel Chinanzvavana, Pieta Kaseke, Audrey Zimbudzana and Broderick Takawira to go through the motions of what has been described as a nothing more than a politically motivated case of harassment.

Mukoko and Zimbudzana have made a successful application to have their matter heard in the Supreme Court, after arguing their fundamental rights were violated by being abducted and tortured. Chinanzvavana and Kaseke also made a similar application.

Newsreel spoke to Kumbirai Mafunda, the Communications Officer for the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, and he told us the judge on Monday insisted on the production of video evidence the state has based its entire case on. The judge expressed concern at the failure of the state to produce the videos since May, when the activists were finally indicted after several months of unlawful detention.

The activists have said they were tortured into making confessions on video. It is unlikely any fair court could accept such evidence.

Meanwhile 16 of the activists, including journalist Shadreck Andrison Manyere, are suing the state for US$19,2 million in damages. The group filed their application in the High Court last week Tuesday, seeking damages for their abduction, unlawful detention and deprivation of liberty last year.

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