-Eighteen- previously-bailed detainees, opponents of R. Mugabe's authoritarian rule, have been ordered back to jail as new charges have been returned against them.
Activist Jestina Mukoko appeared stunned as she heard the ruling from the dock, and stared at Harare Magistrate Catherine Chimanda as her supporters burst into tears. Mukoko and the others have said they were tortured during an earlier stint in prison.It is almost needless to say, but just to be sure...
The suspects had been free on bail for two months. Chimanda said Tuesday she was sending them back to prison because a formal indictment filed Monday accused Mukoko and the others of sabotage, terrorism and banditry. Chimanda scheduled the trial to start July 4.
I am unaware of anyone outside the Mugabe regime who considers these charges to be based on anything real. They are an excuse to terrorize the opposition.
Shame, Magistrate Chimanda; shame.
-updated reports now cite 18 bails were revoked, not 16-
The appeal for a new bail was granted! All 18 are out of jail for now, but were required to surrender their passports as well as the usual weekly reporting requirement. External pressure is also starting to mount regarding this case:
Human Rights Watch said in a statement Zimbabwean authorities should drop the criminal charges against the activists.Here's hoping for some internal pressure to get those charges dropped as well, and soon.
"This continued persecution makes it pretty clear that (Mugabe's) ZANU-PF (party) is trying to undermine the new power-sharing administration and is an example of Zimbabwe's overall lack of progress in respecting the rule of law and basic rights," said Georgette Gagnon, HRW Africa director.