Police helmets case: Suspects granted bail

HARARE magistrate Learmore Mapiye yesterday granted $100 bail to each of the 10 informal traders, who were severely assaulted by the police in an incident which later led to the passing on of one of them while in prison custody.

BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA/ NHAU MANGIRAZI

Hilton Tamangani, a 29-year-old Chitungwiza resident passed on last Friday while at Harare Central Prison after he was arrested by police on October 12 and linked to the over 200 police helmets recovered from a city building.

Besides Tamangani, police also arrested Evans Chinyanga (39), Tichaona Mazia (22), Petros Kayesa (44), Adoration Tafadzwa Madziwa (23), Lovemore Chitengo (42), Robson Mutseta (31), Hillary Nyawasha (29), Wambo Denford (41), Blessing Chirodza (41) and David Tawanda Tekere aged 35, accusing them of assaulting a law enforcement agent and fleeing into the basement of a city building where the helmets were allegedly recovered from.

The 10 were granted before police again clamped down on MDC youths and campaigners who were singing at the court in solidarity with the arrested vendors.

There was drama at the courts as armed police shoved and dived arresting those who had come to show solidarity with the arrested vendors.

Denford Ngadziore, the councillor for ward 16 in Harare’s Mabelreign suburb, Makomborero Haruzivishe, a pro-democracy campaigner and John Matoratora, who are represented by Gift Mtisi of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, were detained at Harare Central Police Station over disorderly conduct.

Tamangani, who was in prison pending the determination of his bail application by Mapiye, died after the Zimbabwe Prison and Correctional Services (ZPCS) officials allegedly denied him permission to be attended to by a private doctor of his choice.

The refusal by ZPCS came after Tamangani’s lawyers Marufu Mandevere and Kudzayi Kadzere of ZLHR wrote to the officer-in-charge at Harare Remand Prison seeking his release as he had developed a fatal infection.

Tamangani’s lawyers also filed an application before Mapiye, seeking an order to allow his body to be examined by an independent pathologist so as to ascertain the cause of death.

In court, Chamunora Kuvheya of ZPCS said prison authorities were yet to get a notice of death from the prison doctor.

Meanwhile, Vendors Initiative for Social Transformation (Viset) have given notice to stage a march against police heavy-handedness following Tamangani’s death. The march has been slated for Monday next week.

Viset executive director Samuel Wadzai said they will hand over petitions to the Clerk of Parliament and police officer commanding Harare district, Home Affairs ministry and ZPCS.

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