Court finds Gwisai, 5 others guilty

Harare Magistrate, Kudakwashe Jarabini today 19 March 2012, found International Socialist Organisation (ISO) Convenor, Munyaradzi Gwisai, student leader Welcome Zimuto, former student leader Hopewell Gumbo, social and women's rights activist Antoinette Choto and trade unionists, Tatenda Mombeyarara and Edson Chakuma guilty of conspiracy to commit a crime under Section 188 of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act. According to the state, the six conspired to commit public violence.

The judgement was delivered before more than 50 pro- democracy advocates including Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Spokesperson, Douglas Mwonzora, National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) Chairperson, Professor Lovemore Madhuku and Progressive Teacher's Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) Secretary General, Raymond Majongwe. Sentencing is expected tomorrow, 20 March 2012at 08:30am at the Harare Magistrates Court. The alleged crime carries with it a Level 12 fine or a maximum of 10 years in jail.

Delivering his judgement, Magistrate Jarabini said that although watching the video was not a crime, the motive was meant to arouse feelings of hostility among the participants towards the government. He further stated that the meeting was meant to encourage a revolt.

The six were arrested on the 19th of February 2011 together with 40 others while watching a video on the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions and discussing the Arab Spring under the topic, 'Revolt in Egypt and Tunisia. What lessons can be learnt by Zimbabwe and Africa.' Initially, the 46 were charged with treason which was later dropped by the state together with charges against the other 40.

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