THE 27 MDC Alliance supporters arrested last week over violent protests that rocked in the capital were yesterday granted $50 bail each and remanded to September 4, pending trial.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
The accused had appeared before magistrate Nyasha Vhitorini, who rapped the State for charging them as a group, yet the circumstances of their arrest were different.
“The State cannot deal with them as a group as the circumstances leading to their arrest are different. The State said the suspects are a flight risk, yet one of the suspects (former Harare South MP Shadreck) Mashayamombe was arrested at this court while observing the court’s conditions. The State failed to bring cogent evidence to convince the court that these 27 suspects committed the alleged offence,” Vhitorini said.
The activists’ lawyers had claimed that most of their clients were MDC Alliance polling agents, who were arrested while submitting polling returns from their various polling stations and collecting their allowances.
Vhitorini said police officers, who arrested the accused persons at Morgan Tsvangirai House and other places, had relied upon a search warrant obtained from the court on August 1, which did not authorise them to effect any arrests.
The document, according to Vhitorini, just permitted police to search for computers, stones, firearms, ammunition and some subversive materials allegedly possessed by MDC Alliance leaders, and not the accused persons.
As part of their bail conditions, the accused were ordered to report once a week at CID Law and Order Section at Harare Central Police Station, reside at their given residential addresses and not to interfere with State witnesses.