Journo acquitted on anti-govt protest charge

BY CHARLES LAITON

HARARE-BASED freelance journalist, Doubt Asima, who was arrested in August last year on public violence charges after he was found rendering first aid to an elderly woman during an anti-government protest, has been acquitted by Harare magistrate Richard Ramaboea for lack of evidence.

According to the evidence presented in court, the elderly woman had been assaulted by police officers near Africa Unity Square during anti-government protests held on August 16.

During trial, Asima was charged together with one Fabian Mushunga, who was also accused of forcibly disturbing the peace, security and/or order of the public.

The State had alleged that Asima and Mushunga, who were represented by human rights lawyers Jeremiah Bamu and Tinomuda Shoko, engaged in acts of public violence by barricading some streets in central Harare with stones and boulders.

The State further alleged that the two men also threw stones at some police officers, thereby disturbing the free movement of the public and vehicles.

In his defence, Asima argued that his arrest and prosecution stemmed from police’s desire to conceal evidence of their brutality, which he had captured on his camera.

Mushunga said he was arrested while passing through town from Belvedere, adding he was not involved in the protests.

Ramaboea declined to put them to their defence and set them free.

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