High Court quashes conviction of pro-democracy activists

A HIGH Court judge yesterday quashed the 12-month sentence imposed on pro-democracy activists, Partson Dzamara and Makomborero Haruzivishe by Harare magistrate Josephine Sande, who convicted the two for defeating the course of justice early last year.

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

Dzamara and Haruzivishe were sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, while three months were suspended on condition of good behaviour and another five months were set aside on condition the duo performed 315 hours of community service.

However, Dzamara and Haruzivishe, who were represented by Obey Shava, appealed against Sande’s judgment before High Court judge Justice Charles Hungwe.

Dzamara, who had already completed one month of community service at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts, and Haruzivishe, at Mt Pleasant Clinic, were found not guilty by Justice Hungwe, who said the police were not civil in their approach of the matter.

In passing the ruling, Justice Hungwe said he was setting aside the conviction and quashing the sentence after observing that the case had a political motive.

The State had alleged that Dzamara and Haruzivishe robbed two women who were passing through the Africa Unity Square while they were protesting against the disappearance of Dzamara’s brother, Itai.

But Justice Hungwe observed that the police wanted Dzamara and crew out of the Africa Unity Square at all costs.

“The court noted that when the incident occurred, the police was trying to arrest Dzamara and crew for an alleged robbery of two ladies, but the State never proceeded to charge them with the said robbery,” he said.

“The two ladies later disappeared from the scene immediately after the arrest of Dzamara and Haruzivishe. Therefore, the court could not ignore Dzamara’s version that these were trumped-up and politically-motivated charges.”

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