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Rituals team acquited

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Many thanks for all of your solidarity messages and support for the Rooftop Promotions team who had been charged with ‘criminal nuisance’ after their arrest on 5 January 2011.

They were acquited yesterday, according to this statement from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

Magistrate acquits Rooftop artists

Mutare Magistrate Nixon Mangoti on Tuesday 22 March 2011 acquitted nine Rooftop artists and their driver, who were charged with criminal nuisance after staging a theatre performance entitled “Rituals” in Chimanimani, Manicaland Province.

Magistrate Mangoti acquitted the nine Rooftop artists and their driver at the close of the State case after the artists’ lawyers Blessing Nyamaropa of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) and Cosmas Chibaya of Chibaya and Associates applied for discharge at the close of the State case.

State prosecutor Fletcher Karombe had led evidence from three witnesses since trial commenced on 17 March 2011.

In acquitting the Rooftop artists, Magistrate Mangoti ruled that the State had not led any evidence that a reasonable court could convict the artists.

The Rooftop artists namely, Sylvanos Mudzvova, Chipo Bizure, Joice Mpofu, Zenzo Nyathi, Mandla Moyo, Rutendo Chigudu, Amina Lloyd Ayamu, Joshua Mwase, Norman Kamema and the driver Shingirai Muto were arrested on 5 January 2011 at Nhedziwa Growth Point in Chimanimani, Manicaland Province and were detained at Cashel Valley Police station.

They were charged with contravening Section 46 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act as read with Section 2 (a) (ii) of the third schedule to Section 46 of the said Act that is criminal nuisance.

The police accused them of unlawfully holding a public performance, where they performed a drama reminiscent of the political disturbances of June 2008 that incited the affected members of the public to revive their differences.

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