High Court Releases Mliswa

Mliswa, walked out of police cells on Tuesday afternoon after the state consented to the defence’s submissions that he should be brought to court by way of summons on the numerous cases that were dug up by police since he said Chihuri was corrupt.The defence had applied for an urgent order to release the controversial businessman arguing that police were infringing on his rights by keeping him in jail.

For the state, senior law officer Rodrick Tokwe consented.

Justice Ben Hlatshwayo granted the order and instructed police to release the outspoken businessman within 30 minutes. Police from the homicide section immediately took him from Matapi police station to Harare Central where he was released.

This time, there were no police officers to arrest him like they had done on three different occasions he was released. Soon after being released, Mliswa was whisked away to his house by his family and lawyers.

His lawyer Charles Chinyama confirmed to Radio VOP that his client was now home.

Sources said police initially wanted to resist releasing Mliswa claiming that they had one more case against him but his lawyers threatened to go back to the High Court and report a contempt of court case.

Chinyama also explained that Mliswa’s release did not mean that police would stop investigations.

When Mliswa was rearrested after being released last Friday, he was charged with attempted murder for an incident which happened at the height of the farm invasions 2003.

Mliswa’s arrest was in defiance of a court order given by magistrate Don Ndirowei last week who said police must bring together all the crimes he is alleged to have committed and not to bring his cases in installments.

The magistrate said by bringing cases one by one and making sure they arrested him each time he was given bail, police were infringing on his rights.

Mliswa had applied for bail in cases in which he is accused of defrauding the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) of US$3, 5 million and stealing generators about eight years ago.

In his ruling, the magistrate said Mliswa was a good candidate for bail given that some of the cases brought before the courts were old and dated back to 2002.

Mliswa was granted US$1000 bail, ordered to surrender his passport, reside at his residence in Borrowdale and was also ordered not to travel 40 kilometres from Harare.

He was also ordered not to interfere with state witnesses.

Mliswa’s treatment is similar to that of Jestina Mukoko, Roy Bennett and many other human rights defenders and opposition officials who have fallen prey to the regime.