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Rights lawyers, WOZA activists acquitted



The two human rights lawyers, Roselyn Hanzi and Tawanda Zhuwarara and eight activists from the Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) whose trial resumed today, 28 May 2009 were acquitted by Magistrate, Moses Murendo when they appeared at the Rotten Row Magistrates Court in Harare.


The ten were facing unsubstantiated charges of contravening Section 37 (1) (b) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act by taking part in a gathering with intent to promote public violence, breaches of peace or bigotry following a demonstration by WOZA activists on the 10th of February 2009. The two lawyers were caught in the cross fire while returning to the Fourth Street offices near Parliament building after lunch. The trial of the activists began on the 19th of May where the state was accusing them of partaking in an illegal demonstration as they had not informed police in compliance with provisions outlined in the Public Order and Security Act (POSA).

Passing his judgment, Mr. Murendo stated that members of WOZA in fact, were not mandated to notify the police of their demonstration as they are not a political party citing Section 26A of POSA which exempts certain groups from notifying the police before a demonstration. The magistrate also noted that the WOZA activists were spreading peace and not inciting violence.

Mr. Andrew Makoni of Mbizvo, Muchadehama and Makoni Legal Practitioners represented the activists while Ms. Ngoma represented the state.

 

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