ZLHR secures release of Biti from detention as state sets stringent bail conditions

A ZIMBABWEAN court on Thursday 09 August 2018 set free Tendai Biti, a human rights lawyer and one of the MDC Alliance party leaders, who was arrested and charged with contravening the country’s electoral laws and committing public violance.

Biti appeared at Harare Magistrates Court on Thursday 09 August 2018 after he was arrested by Zimbabwean authorities and charged with contravening section 66 (A) (1) of the Electoral Act for allegedly announcing unofficial presidential results for the 2018 harmonised elections held on Monday 30 July 2018 and with committing public violence as defined in section 36 of the Crtiminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

State prosecutors who comprised of Justin Uladi, Jonathan Murombedzi and Michael Reza of the National Prosecuting Authority alleged that Biti purportedly announced the results of the presidential election on Tuesday 31 July 2018 and declared that MDC Alliance party leader Nelson Chamisa had won the presidential election before the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) had announced the official results.

The prosecutors also charged that Biti, who was represented by Beatrice Mtetwa, Alec Muchadehama, Harrison Nkomo, Roselyn Hanzi, Gift Mtisi, Denford Halimani, Jeremiah Bamu, Unite Saizi and Kudzai Choga of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights at different points, incited some MDC Alliance party supporters to commit public violence and pulled down an election campaign banner for ZANU PF party leader Emmerson Mnangagwa and burnt some vehicles and property worth $345 000.

But Harare Magistrate Francis Mapfumo set free Biti on $5 000 bail after state prosecutors indicated that they were not opposed to the admission of the opposition party leader on bail.

Magistrate Mapfumo ordered Biti to report twice a day at Criminal Investigations Department Law and Order Section at Harare Central Police Station, not to address political rallies and press conferences, surrender title deeds to his Chisipite suburb residential property, not to interfere with witnesses, surrender his passport and to continue residing at his given residential address.

Biti will return to court on Friday 10 August 2018, where his lawyers will raise several complaints about the ill-treatment of the MDC Alliance party leader and the violation of his constitutional rights.

Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights

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