The State which has dropped the treason charges to alternative charges of inciting violence and disturbing peace in the country after the prosecution failed to present its case before the courts. The matter will now be heard on September 14 and Magistrate Chivasa will hear the matter, the prosecution said in court Wednesday.
The six are former Highfield MP and International Socialist Organisation (ISO) head Munyaradzi Gwisai, Antonater Choto, Welcome Zimuto, Eddison Chakuma, Tatenda Mombeyarara and Hopewell Gumbo.
“This is the third time that the accused persons have appeared for trial and each of the times that they come to court the matter is not heard,” Alec Muchadehama, the lawyer of the six said in court in his submissions.
“We want to place it on record in court that if the trial fails to take off on September 14, we will be applying for refusal of further remand. We are also going to apply for the relaxation of bail conditions and the release of the passports of the accused.”
Two magistrates have so far rescued themselves from hearing the matter on several occasions delaying the hearing of the case.
Zimbabwe police arrested 45 activists in February at the time when the Arab spring where citizens in country’s with dictatorships embarked on mass uprisings to topple their government which they accused of trampling on their rights and looting state resources. All the other 39 activists’ charges were dropped.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe activists and ordinary people are set to submit a petition to the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs to demand the dropping of the charges of the six activists facing charges of inciting violence.
“It is more than six months since they were arrested, detained in remand prison, have been placed in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, released and subjected to restrictive bail conditions, with passports held by the courts and having to regularly report to the Law and Order section of the Zimbabwe Republic Police,” the petition seen by Radio VOP read.
“The legal rights of the 6 are being violated and they have been severely punished before the court has ruled guilt or not. We therefore demand their freedom, by dropping the newly shopped charges in the interest of peace democracy and the true pursuit of human rights agenda.”
The petition says the dropping “the dropping of the treason and subversion and subsequent charge shopping is a clear indication of the baseless nature of the accusations in the first place.”