sZimbabwe opposition MDC Alliance legislator Joana Mamombe and party activist Cecilia Chimbiri will spend another night in custody after Harare Magistrate Stanford Mambanje postponed his bail ruling to Thursday at 9 am.
Mamombe and Chimbiri are being charged with undermining the authority of the police or obstructing police officers during the performance of their national lockdown duties.
Addressing journalists after Magistrate Mambanje’s ruling Charles Kwaramba of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights who is representing the two said the allegations do not constitute a risking the accused person to COVID-19 in prison.
“The allegations here are that these girls were driving in their car and the police in theirs also and they shouted at each other and if you put that on a scale. This is about a verbal exchange which we deny but assuming that this verbal interaction had occurred, is it something that you can put accused person at risk and further congest prisons that are already congested.
“Is it a basis upon which you can detain people and keep them in custody. When you go to prisons they (Mamombe and Chimbiri) mentioned that the situation is not good that is in their view. It’s not about the prisons, everywhere the situation is not pleasing,” said Kwaramba
Prosecutor Audrey Chogumaira had argued that Mamombe and Chimbiri were not proper candidates to be set free on bail and are “undermining the court system” which when granted bail they may commit other offences.
Outlining his defence Kwaramba said the duo is being targeted as part of political persecution since Hon. Mamombe and Chimbiri are opposition MDC Alliance party youth leaders.
Kwaramba said the charge of contravening national lockdown was repealed and hence the charge is defective.
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