Anti-Mugabe shutdown protesters FINALLY have their charges dropped... it's taken 11 months

2017-06-20 06:12
President Robert Mugabe. (File, AFP)

President Robert Mugabe. (File, AFP)

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Harare - A Zimbabwean magistrate has finally dismissed charges against 51 Harare residents arrested last year on charges of public violence in what lawyers said was a "spectacular collapse" of the state's case against them.

The 51, who were out of custody on bail, were arrested last July during a national stayaway called by ThisFlag leader, Evan Mawarire against corruption and police roadblocks under President Robert Mugabe.

The protesters were facing charges of public violence allegedly committed in the eastern Harare suburb of Mabvuku.

But Harare Magistrate Lanzini Ncube on Monday dismissed the case against the group, said the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

Failed to prove

"In his ruling Magistrate Ncube indicated that the State failed during trial to prove the essential elements of the charge," said a statement from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

ZLHR said the magistrate found that no link had been established to connect the group to the charge of public violence.

$1 million lawsuit

The development comes after a group of businessmen called the Citizens Against Violence and Anarchy Trust (CAVAAT) last week indicated it would sue opposition parties for $1 million for damage caused during unrest at a later anti-Mugabe demonstration in August.

Despite having clearance from the High Court, police fired tear gas to break up protesters as they gathered for the march.

Read more on:    robert mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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