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Abductees released

Most of the 32 people that were abducted in October 2008, including activist Jestina Mukoko, were released on bail less than a month after the formation of the inclusive government.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture-designate Roy Bennett was also released on bail.

Magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe granted bail to eight people: Concillia Chinanzvavana, Emmanuel Chinanzvavana, Broderick Takawira, Violet

Mupfuranhewe, Fidelis Chiramba, Collen Mutemagau, Pieta Kaseke, and Audrey Zimbudzana on 27 February under stringent bail conditions which included US$600 bail, surrender of all travel documents, deposit of US$20 000 or title deeds for surety, and a requirement to report to their local police station twice a week.

Jestina Mukoko was granted bail under similar conditions on 2 March.

Four abductees Mapfumo Garutsa, Regis Mujeyi, Chinoto Zulu and Zachariah Nkomo- accused of bombing police stations- were released on 2 March following a bail order by High Court Justice Yunus Omerjee.

The other three accused of bombings -Chris Dhlamini, Ghandi Mudzingwa and journalist Shadreck Manyere- remained in custody.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 09HARARE182, BAIL APPROVALS INDICATE SLIGHT GOZ SHIFT IN RIGHT

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

09HARARE182

2009-03-04 16:24

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO9517

OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0182/01 0631624

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 041624Z MAR 09

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4134

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2671

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2792

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1262

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2060

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2416

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2840

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5268

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1961

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000182

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B. WALCH

DRL FOR N. WILETT

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR J.HARMON AND L. DOBBINS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/04/2019

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM KDEM ZI

SUBJECT: BAIL APPROVALS INDICATE SLIGHT GOZ SHIFT IN RIGHT

DIRECTION

 

REF: A. HARARE 163

B. HARARE 130

C. HARARE 115

 

Classified By: Ambassador James D. McGee for reason 1.4(d).

 

——

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (C) Of the 32 persons abducted between October and

December 2008, 21 have now been released, including human

rights activist Jestina Mukoko who was released on bail on

March 2. The granting of Deputy Agriculture

Minister-designate Roy Bennett’s bail was reaffirmed in the

high court on March 3, although he has not yet been released.

In the last week, others have been arrested on various

politicized charges, but most of them have been released

relatively quickly. In a new twist, MDC supporters across

Zimbabwe are trying to take back property stolen during 2008

election violence, and many of these individuals have been

arrested. END SUMMARY.

 

—————————–

32 Abductees: 9 still missing

—————————–

 

2. (U) Of the 32 persons abducted at the end of 2008 (ref C),

most have now been released: 16 granted bail, 13 of these

released, 1 escaped, 6 in custody without bail, and 9 still

missing. Of the nine people accused of plotting an armed

insurgency from Botswana, including Jestina Mukoko, all have

been granted bail under stringent conditions. Press reports

that the abductees were forced to rescind allegations of

torture as a condition of release are inaccurate. There are

several complaints pendig in the courts contesting their

abductions, torture, and arrests.

 

3. (SBU) On Friday February 27, Magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe

granted bail to eight people: Concillia Chinanzvavana,

Emmanuel Chinanzvavana, Broderick Takawira, Violet

Mupfuranhewe, Fidelis Chiramba, Collen Mutemagau, Pieta

Kaseke, and Audrey Zimbudzana. The bail conditions were

stringent: US$600 bail, surrender of all travel documents,

deposit of US$20,000 or title deeds for surety, and a

requirement to report to their local police station twice a

week. On Saturday February 28, Takawira and Chiramba were

released after meeting all requirements. Because some do not

own property or have passports, it has taken a few days to

gather documentation proving they do not have passports.

Defense attorneys succeeded in getting the State to scrap the

requirement for the US$20,000 deposit or title deed. As of

mid-day March 4, three of those granted bail remain in state

custody, although lawyers believe they will be released soon.

 

4. (U) On Monday March 2, Jestina Mukoko’s lawyer made a bail

application before Magistrate Guvamombe which was granted

under the same conditions as the group granted bail on

February 27. Mukoko satisfied bail conditions the same day

and was unshackled at Avenues Clinic, where she continues to

receive medical care.

 

5. (U) Also on March 2, four abductees (Mapfumo Garutsa,

Regis Mujeyi, Chinoto Zulu, and Zachariah Nkomo) accused of

bombing police stations were released following a bail order

by High Court Justice Yunus Omerjee. Omerjee ruled on

Qby High Court Justice Yunus Omerjee. Omerjee ruled on

February 27 that his February 19 bail order for the four

stands, despite a State request to appeal bail. The four are

required to deposit Z$1,000, surrender travel documents, to

report twice daily to their local police station, and not

interfere with state witnesses; they are not allowed to leave

 

HARARE 00000182 002 OF 003

 

 

their homes other than for court appearances or to report to

the police station. The other three accused of bombings

(Chris Dhlamini, Ghandi Mudzingwa, and journalist Shadreck

Manyere) remain in state custody; lawyers are working

feverishly to secure their release. All seven are scheduled

to appear in court again on March 6.

 

6. (SBU) Three other abductees remain in state “protective

custody” as state witnesses: Fanny Tembo, Lloyd Tarumbwa, and

Terry Musona. Their lawyer is scheduled to appear in the

High Court on March 6,to apply for their immediate release.

 

7. (U) As reported in ref C, two other abductees were

released and charges against them were dropped. Two-year-old

Nigel Mutemagau was also released after being abducted with

his parents in October. Bothwell Pasipamire escaped

detention and remains in South Africa. Nine others remain

unaccounted for.

 

——————————————

Bennett: Bail Granted but Still in Custody

——————————————

 

8. (SBU) On February 24, MDC Treasurer and Deputy Agriculture

Minister-designate Bennett was granted bail in the High Court

following his arrest on February 13 (ref B). The State then

invoked section 121 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence

Act, suspending bail and giving the State time to file an

appeal. High Court Judge Tedius Karwi threw out the State’s

application to appeal bail late on March 3. However, on

March 4, procedural roadblocks continued to prevent Bennett’s

release. Karwi’s order was locked in a cabinet in his office

for most of the day, and no one could find either the key or

Karwi. After lunch, Karwi turned up and the order is en route

to Mutare, where Bennett is being held, in order for the

release order to be written up. Also on March 4, the State

filed an appeal to the bail order in the Supreme Court, but

it is unclear if this appeal will prevent his release. As of

4:30 p.m., the documentation has arrived in Mutare, but the

court clerk is refusing to accept the US$2,000 bail. An MP

in Mutare tells us that Bennett’s lawyers are seeking out the

magistratedES)+BX}ill spend at least one more

night in jail.

 

—————————————–

WOZA, ZINASU – Beaten, Arrested, Released

—————————————–

 

9. (U) Five members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) were

arrested on February 26 when they attempted to deliver a

petition to Education Minister David Coltart asking that the

2008 school year be canceled (ref A). They were granted bail

of US$50 each and released on March 2.

 

10. (U) The group of eight WOZA women and two lawyers with

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) that were arrested

during a Valentine’s Day protest on February 10 (ref C)

Qduring a Valentine’s Day protest on February 10 (ref C)

appeared in court on March 4. Their trial is now scheduled

for March 25.

 

11. (U) On February 26, six members of the Zimbabwe National

Students Union (ZINASU), including Chairperson Madock Chivasa

of the National Youth Forum, were arrested by police in

Masvingo following a public meeting. Chivasa addressed the

crowd of approximately 300 youths on “the role of youths in

the transitional period vis-a-vis national healing, peace

building, and conflict transformation.” The six were

initially accused of inciting violence; all were released on

 

HARARE 00000182 003 OF 003

 

 

February 27 and charges against them were dropped. They were

beaten when arrested, but none sustained serious injuries.

 

—————————- ————————–

Some MDC Supporters Arrested for Taking Back Belongings

—————————- ————————–

 

12. (SBU) Across Zimbabwe, MDC members, perhaps emboldened by

the new government, are seeking to take back their livestock,

farm implements, and other possessions that were stolen by

ZANU-PF supporters during election violence in 2008. While

some allege the MDC is supporting these efforts, NGs

investigating the incidents report that the MDC is not

organizing these attempts. 52 MDC supporters were arrested

in Mutoko, 38 remain in custody. 13 were arrested in Mbare

on February 16, charged with public violence; eight were

granted bail on March 5. On February 18, eight were arrested

in Gokwe; they were later granted bail, which the State

appealed. 86 were arrested in Nyanga on February 27 and

released on the 28th, also for trying to take back stolen

goods.

 

——————————- ———————

While Others Gather Undisturbed Outside Harvest House

——————————- ———————

 

13. (U) On March 4, approximately 300 MDC supporters

spontaneously gathered in front of the MDC headquarters,

known as Harvest House, waiting for Prime Minister Morgan

Tsvangirai, who was in the building. PM Tsvangirai briefly

addressed the crowd as he left the building, and the crowd

dispersed peacefully. Embassy staff in the area reported

there were no police or attempts to disrupt the gathering.

(NOTE: Harvest House was raided twice in 2008 by riot police

seeking to remove MDC supporters who had sought refuge there.

END NOTE.)

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

14. (C) Events in the last week represent a mixed bag of

setbacks and advances in the long march towards a freer

Zimbabwe. On the positive side, bail was granted for Jestina

Mukoko, Roy Bennett, and others abducted and incarcerated on

trumped up political charges. In addition, the peaceful

gathering of MDC supporters in front of Harvest House would

have been unimaginable just a few weeks ago. Nonetheless,

recent incidents of police brutality against women, youths,

and innocent bystanders as well as the arrests of dozens of

MDC supporters seeking to take back their property represent

the lawlessness and impunity that have characterized Zimbabwe

for years. Bennett’s continued detention because of a

missing key and a refusal to obey a court order is also

worrisome in that these kinds of silly delays are not unusual

and are easily interpreted as intentional political

maneuvering. Only when these political arrests, beatings,

and delay tactics finally come to a halt can we celebrate a

shift towards freedom and respect for human rights. END

COMMENT.

 

MCGEE

(16 VIEWS)

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