The four women and one man arrested in Harare on Wednesday finally appeared in Harare Magistrate’s Court this morning on charges under Section 37 (1) (a) (i) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act – “disturbing the peace, security or order of the public”. They were released on bail of US $50 each by Magistrate Olivia Mariga and remanded out of custody to 19th March. They also have to report to their nearest police station every Friday. The state prosecutor also tried to insist on an early trial but the docket was not ready. They were brought to court by plain-clothed officer, Phiri.
The investigating officer Detective Sergeant Kahora is the man responsible for ensuring that the group were unlawfully detained, spending six days in custody, well over the 48-hours allowed for by law.
WOZA would like to salute the courage and determination of these parents in enduring beatings, arrest and detention in horrific conditions to ensure that their concerns about their children’s education were brought to the attention of the Minister of Education. The extended and unlawful detention, the extortionate bail demanded and the reporting conditions imposed also show that the inception of an unity government has done nothing to change the way democracy and social justice activists are treated by a hostile and repressive state.