Thirty-nine War Vets Remand in Custody

Thirty-nine War Vets Remand in Custody

Thirty-nine war veterans arrested last Tuesday and charged with inciting public violence were Thursday remanded in custody pending a court ruling this Friday on two applications made by their lawyers.

The former freedom fighters were arrested while singing revolutionary songs at the Africa Unity Square in Harare’s central business district after anti-riot police barred them from staging a demonstration over their pensions and welfare.

Their lawyers from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights led by Paida Saurombe submitted two applications before Harare Magistrate Barbara Mateko seeking their release due to delays in charging them and bringing the accused to court well after the stipulated 48- hour detention period had lapsed.

According to Saurombe: “When war veterans appeared in court this morning (Thursday), we made complaints against the police in respect of two matters that the war vets were over-detained and were not informed of the reasons of their arrest.”

The court heard the accused after their arrest were taken to Harare Central Police Station and later to three different detention centres in Borrowdale, Highlands, and Rhodesville police stations Tuesday.

However, they were only charged the following day (Wednesday).

The lawyers also argued according to the country’s Constitution, the detentions were arbitrary and unlawful.

However, Prosecutor Moses Mapanga said the accused persons were many for their office to handle to prosecute and bring the case to court on time hence the prolonged period in preparing the statement for all 39 war veterans.

Mapanga suggested that the war veterans be placed on remand as he opposed bail arguing there were witnesses from the police to testify against the accused persons.

Mateko then placed the accused on remand till Friday when she is expected to make a ruling on the applications submitted by the lawyers.