CSO leaders detained over subverting constitutional govt as pro-democracy campaigners launch freedom bid at High Court

By Court Reporter

TWO civil society leaders were on Tuesday 28 May 2019 arrested upon
arrival at Robert Mugabe International Airport and immediately
detained at Harare Central Police Station amid indications that
Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers want to charge them with
subverting constitutional government.

Rita Nyampinga, the Director of Female Prisoners Support Trust and
Stabile Dewa, the Director of Women’s Academy for Leadership and
Political Excellence were arrested soon after landing at Robert Mugabe
International Airport and taken to Harare Central Police Station,
where their lawyers from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights encountered
challenges in accessing their clients.

The arrest of Nyampinga and Dewa brings to seven the number of human
rights defenders who have been arrested since last week when
Zimbabwean authorities launched a crackdown on pro-democracy
campaigners.

Five human rights defenders namely George Makoni, Tatenda Mombeyarara,
Gamuchirai Mukura, Nyasha Mpahlo and Farirai Gumbonzvanda have been
charged with subverting constitutional government as defined in
section 22(2)(a)(iii) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform)
Act. They were remanded in custody to Thursday 6 June 2019.

Meanwhile, High Court Judge Justice Tawanda Chitapi on Tuesday 28 May
2019 postponed the hearing of a bail application for Makoni,
Mombeyarara, Mukura and Mpahlo to Thursday 30 May 2019 after the State
requested for more time to be allowed to file its response to the
human rights activists’ freedom bid.

Makoni, Mukura and Mpahlo were on Monday 27 May 2019 taken out of
Chikurubi Maximum Prison, where they are detained on remand and
brought to Harare Central Police Station, where ZRP officers told
their lawyers from ZLHR that they would want to interrogate them as
part of “further investigations” in their matter.