MMPZ officers in freedom bid

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The three Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ) advocacy officers arrested last month for allegedly distributing subversive material reportedly denigrating President Robert Mugabe will today apply for refusal of further remand at the Gwanda Magistrates’ Court.

The trio — Fadzai December, Molly Chimhanda and Gilbert Mabusa — are challenging their continued stay on remand, arguing they have no case to answer and their right to liberty was being violated.

State allegations are on November 24 last year, the three held an unsanctioned meeting in Gwanda and later distributed a DVD with subversive material which the State claims had the likelihood of causing public disorder.

They were arrested after they had been summoned to help the police with investigations in the matter and were detained and spent two nights in police holdings cells before being brought to court.

They are out on $50 bail each granted by Gwanda magistrate Douglas Zvenyika last month.

However, they had to spend another week in remand prison after the State invoked section 121 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, setting aside the bail order.

They were only released after then Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Nicholas Mathonsi dismissed the State’s appeal and accused the Attorney-General’s Office of abusing section 121.

Justice Mathonsi has since been transferred to the Harare High Court. Section 121 suspends bail for a period of seven working days, the period in which the State is expected to formally appeal against the granting of bail at the High Court.

The three are being represented by Kossam Ncube, Lison Ncube and Rose Hanzi, while the State is being represented by Blessing Gundani.