Prominent human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa yesterday complained at the Harare Magistrates’ Court about the manner three war veteran leaders charged with undermining President Robert Mugabe’s authority were handled by the police following their arrest.
Mtetwa is representing Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association secretary-general Victor Matemadanda, vice-chairman Headman Moyo and the association’s Harare chapter deputy chair, Hoyini Samuel Bhila.
The first accused in the matter, Francis Nhando, is being represented by David Drury.
The four suspects were all released on $300 bail each coupled with conditions and were remanded to September 5 by provincial magistrate Vakai Chikwekwe.
However, in her submissions, Mtetwa fumed and notified the court that she intends to make an application for refusal of remand, among other applications, on the next appearance.
“I seek to notify the court that we had challenges in accessing clients as they were detained at various police stations,” she said.
The four were detained at Highlands, Rhodesville, Avondale and Braeside police stations respectively.
“To access them, the officers demanded that there should be an officer from Law and Order, but the Law and Order section has manpower and resources challenges for them to be physically present at those stations,” Mtetwa said.
“We will challenge this because it is in breach of Section 50 of the Constitution, which talks about the right to have access to legal representation.”
She added: “We are issuing a legal notice on the issue of a 48-hour pre-appearance incarceration period. There was an abuse of that period. The first and second accused persons were taken into custody on Monday, but the police went on to detain them without purpose.”
Mtetwa said the other accused persons handed over themselves to the police and should not have been detained. Mtetwa also told the court there was no proper certificate of prosecution from the Prosecutor-General.
Prosecutor Tapiwa Kasema appeared for the State.
Title: Mtetwa hits the roof as war vets’ rights trampled on
Author: MARY TARUVINGA
Source: News Day