President Emmerson Mnangagwa, declared winner of the historic first elections since the downfall of Robert Mugabe, has vowed to protect rights since his re-election but the opposition say their members have been targeted.
Police with assault rifles were on duty in the court precinct, with a truck of other officers stationed outside.
Prosecutors opposed bail, saying the accused — 19 men and eight women — were “linked” to the deaths of six people when the army opened fire on opposition supporters protesting against alleged election fraud.
“There’s more than a likelihood that they will re-offend, they will intimidate witnesses, they will interfere with evidence and they will not attend trial,” said prosecutor Michael Reza.
“These are people with unfinished work business outside. The deaths of six people… are directly linked to the accused.”
Defence lawyers said that among the accused was a man who had been coming out of court after another case.
Five other suspects were polling agents who had been visiting MDC headquarters to hand in polling returns and collect travel expenses, they added.
Six people died after troops in the capital Harare opened fire on demonstrators Wednesday, sparking an international outcry and raising grim memories of post-election repression under Mugabe.
Mnangagwa has accused the MDC — the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) — of fomenting the unrest, but also said he would set up an independent commission to investigate the killings. DM
Want to watch Richard Poplak’s audition for SA’s Got Talent?
Who doesn’t? Alas, it was removed by the host site for prolific swearing*... Now that we’ve got your attention, we thought we’d take the opportunity to talk to you about the small matter of book burning and freedom of speech.
Since its release, Pieter-Louis Myburgh’s book Gangster State, has sparked numerous fascist-like behavior from certain members of the public (and the State). There have been planned book burnings, disrupted launches and Ace Magashule has openly called him a liar. And just to say thanks, a R10m defamation suit has been lodged against the author.
Pieter-Louis Myburgh is our latest Scorpio Investigative journalist recruit and we’re not going to let him and his crucial book be silenced. When the Cape Town launch was postponed, Maverick Insider stepped in and relocated it to a secure location so that Pieter-Louis’ revelations could be heard by the public. If we’ve learnt one thing over the past ten years it is this: when anyone tries to infringe on our constitutional rights, we have to fight back. Every day, our journalists are uncovering more details and evidence of State Capture and its various reincarnations. The rot is deep and the threats, like this recent one to freedom of speech, are real. You can support the cause by becoming an Insider and help free the speech that can make a difference.
*No video of Richard Poplak auditioning for SA’s Got Talent actually exists. Unless it does and we don’t know about it please send it through.
Towns near Fukushima are now being plagued by hordes of rampaging radioactive wild boars. Where are Asterix and Obelix when you need them?