Gay Rights Employee Denied Right To Visit The US

The magistrate denied her travel after invoking Section 121 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence (CPEA) to suspend an order granted by Harare Magistrate Don Ndirowei.

Chademana’s lawyer David Hofisi of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) on Thursday morning applied for a temporary release of her passport and a relaxation of reporting conditions to allow her to travel to the US for a six day training on non-violent conflict at the Fletcher School at Tufts University from 22-26 June 2010.

Chademana, who had been invited to the training programme and had secured tickets for the trip prior to her arrest last month was scheduled to travel to the US on Friday 18 June and return on 28 June in time for her trial which commences on 1 July.

Although prosecutor Zvenyika opposed the application and argued that Chademana would abscond since she had been furnished with her trial date Magistrate Ndirowei granted Chademana’s application.

Magistrate Ndirowei ruled Thursday afternoon that Chademana had furnished the court with good reasons to travel abroad and the interest of justice would not be prejudiced.

But Zvenyika astonished the court by immediately invoking Section 121 of the CPEA which she claimed would suspend Magistrate Ndirowei’s order.

The prosecutor said Magistrate Ndirowei’s order had the effect of varying bail hence the State was entitled to an appeal through invoking Section 121 of the CPEA which she said would suspend the order granted.

Chademana, who together with Ignatius Mhamba were arrested at the GALZ offices last month, will stand trial on 1 July and 30 June respectively on charges of possessing drugs and pornographic material.

The two GALZ employees, who were granted bail late last month, are currently reporting twice a week to CID Drugs Section at Harare Central Police Station as part of their bail conditions. Besides surrendering their passports with the clerk of court they are also barred from travelling for more than 40 kilometres outside Harare without the authority of the investigating officer.