- Last Updated on 15 March 2013
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THE High Court of Zimbabwe in Harare removed Okay Machisa, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZIMRIGHTS) director and Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) chairperson from remand in an order stamped by the Registrar of the High Court on March 12, 2013.Okay Machisa)
The High Court said the decision of the Magistrates Court in Harare delivered on January 16, 2013 placing Machisa on remand in the case with Reference No. CRB 591/13 "be and is hereby set aside. €
The court order which communicated the removal of Machisa from remand, a copy of which is in possession of the Crisis Report, read in part:
"It is declared that the placement on remand of the applicant is invalid and that he be immediately removed from remand. €
The ZIMRIGHTS Director and CiZC chairperson represented by Mr. B. Diza had appealed at the High Court in Harare before Honorable Justice Kudya on March 6.
The human rights defender had been placed on remand by Magistrate N.O Mahwe of the Harare Magistrates Court, also Known as Rottenrow Court, on January 16, 2013 on charges of forgery, or conspiracy to commit fraud in Case No. HC 97/13.
The alternative charges were that Machisa communicated, or published falsehoods likely to be prejudicial to the State and he was thrown in remand prison after his arrest on January 14, until he was given bail by the High Court on January 29, 2013.
The charges against Machisa arose after police ostensibly linked Farai Bhani and Tatenda Chinaka who were allegedly found with fake voter registration certificates to ZIMRIGHTS in December 2012.
The development led to the arrest of ZIMRIGHTS Education Programs Officer Leo Chamahwinya and ZIMRIGHTS Highfields Chapter Chairperson Dorcas Shereni in December 2013 on the same charges with Machisa, who was arrested in January 2013.
The two ZIMRIGHTs officials who are being charged with Machisa are on bail and have their cases pending before the courts.
The latest order of the High Court may be a sign that the case involving ZIMRIGHTS and its officials is crumbling. Though, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) recently used the case as an argument against the application by ZIMRIGHTS for accreditation to observe the constitutional referendum on March 16.
At the time of publishing ZIMRIGHTS and ZPP were yet to be accredited and ZEC was reported to be in a meeting to conclude the issue.