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Two months – no charges

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An SW Radio Africa headline caught my eye the other day: MDC say they will not be held ‘prisoner’ in unity deal.

The Tsvangirai MDC has moved to reassure sceptical supporters that it will not be held ‘prisoner’ in a government of national unity with ZANU PF. Speaking to Newsreel on Monday, party spokesman Nelson Chamisa said if for any reason the deal failed to work they would have no hesitation in walking out.

Well. The MDC may not be held prisoner. But Zimbabwe Peace Project Director Jestina Mukoko certainly is. She was abducted over two months ago, on 3 December 2008. She was missing for three weeks, with the police claiming not to know where she was. She was found 23 December – in police custody! Since then, she has been accused of “banditry,” and has had a series of court appearances, none of which seem to be getting her any closer to freedom.

Today, High Court Justice Alphas Chitakunye rejected her latest application for bail, saying that he couldn’t grant bail because Jestina “had yet to be advised by a court on her charges.”

So this woman, who was arrested after the Global Political Agreement was signed now won’t be released, after the inclusive government has been finalised? You’ve had this woman, and her six co-accused, for two months and you haven’t even charged them yet?

Surely the issue of these detainees is a litmus test for this new government. Write to MDC-M and MDC-T and remind them that whilst pro-democracy activists remain detained and disappeared, none of us are free, and that the spirit of the inclusive government is flawed. And if you hear back from them, let us know what they say!

One comment to “Two months – no charges”

  1. Comment by Kubatana.net speaks out from Zimbabwe » Blog Archive » A mockery of the entire system:

    [...] Mukoko has been in police custody for two months. On Wednesday, High Court Justice Chitakunye denied her bail ostensibly because she “had yet to be advised by a court on her [...]