Maguwu too weak to attend court


Incarcerated human rights defender Farai Maguwu failed to appear in court yesterday raising fears that his health is deteriorating while in Remand Prison.
Maguwu underwent an operation on his throat on June 18 following a High Court order by Justice Chinembiri Bhunu to allow him to be examined and treated by a doctor of his choice.
His lawyer Tinoziva Bere, yesterday, made an application for bail before magistrate Donald Ndirowei in his client’s absence saying Maguwu was being denied proper medical care.
“My client was operated on June18 and the doctor recommended that he should be in hospital for 10 days,” Bere said. “But on June 21 he was taken back to prison with his wounds still fresh and neck swollen.”
“In spite of our protest they took him back to prison to place him in the hands the same people who had failed.” Bere said.
Bere went on to lament over the treatment that his client was receiving at the hands of state authorities.
“We believe it is a tragedy that a young man hands himself to the police, but ends up failing to attend his own hearing because of deprivation to medical access.” the lawyer said.
Maguwu’s lawyers made another bail application citing changes in circumstances.
“The state had indicated that by June 22 they would be through with investigations and this court implored the state to expeditiously investigate the matter to enable it to consider the issue of bail.” the lawyers said. Prosecutor Phyllis Zvenyika opposed the application saying they were carrying out extraterritorial investigations therefore needed more time.
“Maguwu is a flight risk and the charge he is facing is very serious. Above all, the evidence against him is overwhelming and we still need time for our extraterritorial investigations.” Zvenyika argued.
Ndirowei yesterday remanded Maguwu to June 30 and ordered the state to allow him to be attended to by a doctor of his choice again while the state awaited for the return of the investigating officer who was said to be out of the country.
On Monday this week Justice Chinembiri Bhunu dismissed Maguwu’s bail application saying his behavior if proved was “treacherous and abominable, particularly in times of national economic strife.
Maguwu, the executive director of Center for Research and Development, was arrested on June 3 on allegations of publishing or communicating false statements prejudicial to the State as defined in Section 31 (a) (ii) of the Criminal Law ( Codification and Reform ) Act.
Maguwu is alleged to have passed on false information to the Kimberley Process (KP) monitor, Abbey Chikane, a South African businessman, who was undertaking assessment of whether Zimbabwe had met the minimum standards of the KP.
Maguwu allegedly wrote several false documents that he handed over to Chikane and different organisations alleging massive human rights abuses against villagers by the police and the army at the controversial Chiadzwa diamond fields.
The state further alleged that in the said document Maguwu wrote on corruption, smuggling and theft of diamonds by top senior government officials.
Chikane allegedly reported Maguwu to state agents informing them of the documents that Maguwu had passed on to him.