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Rights groups redflags ED’s regime for trashing charter

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Rights groups redflags ED’s regime for trashing charter


PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime has been accused of violating the constitution by denying incarcerated opposition legislators Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole access to their legal representatives while in prison.

This came after Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (Zlhr) director Roselyn Hanzi was on Monday denied access to see Sikhala (Zengeza West legislator) in prison even after producing her credentials as a practicing lawyer in the country.

Sikhala has been jailed together with Sithole (Chitungwiza North MP) and 12 other activists for allegedly inciting violence following the death of Moreblessing Ali in Nyatsime. Ali was allegedly killed by Zanu PF activist Pius Jamba.

Speaking to NewsDay yesterday, Hanzi lamented abuse of political detainees in the country.

“They are violating the Constitution, detainees have rights to access lawyers of their choice and the right to access medical treatment,” Hanzi said.

Amnesty International’s deputy director for Southern Africa Muleya Mwananyanda condemned the ill-treatment of opposition detainees by the government.

“Amnesty International Zimbabwe has been closely following the case of Job Sikhala, vice-chairman of CCC, and Godfrey Sithole, MP for Chitungwiza North, both of whom are facing charges of inciting violence after attending the funeral of Moreblessing Ali. The two remain in detention and have been denied bail by the magistrates’ court,” Mwananyanda said.

“The continued detention of Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole, and the denial of their lawyers’ access to meet with them is an absolute travesty of justice. There is an emerging trend where critics of government and members of the opposition are consistently harassed and denied bail by the courts, brought to court in leg irons and at times denied access to their lawyers, yet high profile political elites facing criminal offences are in most cases treated entirely differently with bail being granted regardless of the seriousness of the offence.”

She said the charges levelled against Sikhala and Sithole and their denial of bail showed hallmarks of an effort to persecute and silence political opposition by the government.Newsday

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