Mukoko Calls For An End To Harassment

HARARE – Former newscaster and prominent human rights activist Jestina Mukoko has welcomed her release from prison and called upon the authorities to end the harassment of human rights or political activists and other political prisoners.

Speaking to journalists just outside Chikurubi Maximum Prison after her release on Wednesday, Mukoko said: "Sanity has prevailed and all this harassment should stop.”

Seventy-three year-old MDC member Fidelis Chiramba, who unsuccessfully contested the Zvimba South Senatorial elections in last year’s elections complained, “The blankets were short and it was very cold. There is no water in the cells and our relatives had to bring water for us.”

Mukoko, the director of the rights group, the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) was re-arrested on Monday together with 14 other human rights and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) members who were being charged with banditry, sabotage and plotting to unseat the country’s long ruling leader President Robert Mugabe from power.

But on Tuesday Harare Magistrate Catherine Chimanda who on Monday ordered the arrest of Mukoko and the other abductees reversed her decision and granted bail to Mukoko and 12 other detainees.

Chimanda granted bail to the 12 political detainees after the State Prosecutor Chris Mutangadura informed her that the Attorney General’s office was not opposing bail and had consented together with the defence lawyers from the rights group, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR).

Meanwhile, the High Court will Thursday consider bail applications for freelance photo-journalist Andrison Manyere, Gandi Mudzingwa and Kisimusi Dhlamini, who were denied bail by the same magistrate.

Chimanda on Tuesday said she couldn’t grant bail to the three as their bail applications were currently before the High Court. The three were in hospital in Harare where they were receiving treatment for injuries sustained as a result of their torture during their enforced disappearance and detention.