Zimbabwe Students Acquitted

The studentsat Bindura University of Science Education (BUSE) were facing charges of contravening Section 37 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act for participating in a gathering with intent to cause a breach of the peace or bigotry after they allegedly staged a demonstration at the institution.

The State alleged that the students contradicted the university authorities and misrepresented to other students by claiming that the Ministry of Higher Education had resolved that university students should be allowed to sit for their examinations but would not get their results until payment of the fees.

The State said the students’ claims contradicted the university authorities’ position.

The Magistrate acquitted the students after their lawyer Tawanda Zhuwarara of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) applied for discharge at the end of the State case. The Magistrate said the State witnesses failed to directly implicate 21 of the 28 students charged.

However, seven students including student leader Joshua Chinyere were put to their defence. On Tuesday Zhuwarara filed an application for the discharge of the seven remaining students on the basis that the evidence led by the State was contradictory, unreliable and insufficient.

In his application for discharge Zhuwarara stated that the witnesses’ statements were inconsistent, insufficient and an attempt to create and fabricate evidence.

The Magistrate reserved ruling for Zhuwarara’s application to 30 July,  2010.

Meanwhile, 10 National University of Science and Technology (NUST) students, who were also accused of breaching Section 37 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act by participating in a demonstration held at the institution in April 2009, have been removed from remand after their lawyer Lizwe Jamela of ZLHR applied for their removal from remand.

Two of the students, Kennedy Chizama and Christopher Hwacha, who have since graduated from the institution were issued with warrants of arrest by Bulawayo Magistrate Rose Dube after they failed to appear in court.