This morning, in a long-awaited bail hearing Justice Maphios Cheda of the Bulawayo High Court granted Jenni Williams and Magondonga Mahlangu bail on a surety of $200 each. The only condition is that they not interfere with any state witnesses. They have not been asked to surrender travel documents or even to report to the police. They will appear for remand on Thursday, October 6.
It is clear from this ruling that the judge did not take the case against them very seriously, and we wonder why it took so long for a bail hearing date to be set down. Was the state attempting simply to punish the two by arresting and holding them on flimsy charges, knowing that in fact they have committed no crime? If so, it would not be the first time this has happened. WOZA is dismayed that under the Government of National Unity such a perversion of justice continues, with elements of the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the justice system allowed to operate untrammelled without the slightest concern for the basic principles of law and human rights. We hope that there will be no further delays and they will be released promptly, as is their right.
WOZA would like to thank all those supporters who showed solidarity with Williams and Mahlangu through the past two weeks. Together we can promote a more democratic society in which rights are respected and social justice prevails.