Clemence Manyukwe/Shakeman Mugari
MORE details emerged this week of how state security agents, led by the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), abused suspects in the arms cache case.
This came as the Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) condemned the CIO ag
ents for intimidating prosecutors dealing with the case.
The LSZ said the intimidation of senior prosecutors by members of the CIO shortly before the state withdrew before plea charges against the six suspects arrested in connection with the discovery of arms in Mutare was reprehensible.
The CIO harassed lawyers from the Attorney-General’s office. Two state lawyers — Joseph Jagada and Florence Ziyambi — were forced to flee to Harare “in fear of their liberty” while Manicaland area prosecutor Levison Chikafu abandoned his home for a day.
In an interview on Tuesday, LSZ president Joseph James said intimidation of lawyers must be condemned.
“If the intelligence operatives intimidated members of the AG’s office, that must be condemned in the strongest terms possible. Members of the AG’s office are lawyers who are objective. They make decisions based on fact and law,” he said.
“If at the end of the day they are told by intelligence operatives how to conduct their cases, it is fundamentally a fix for the administration of justice. At the end of the day it may as well be members of the CIO who prosecute.”
Justice Charles Hungwe last week slammed the CIO and police officers for disregarding court orders, abusing suspects and preparing an affidavit for one of the suspects to incriminate Roy Bennett and MDC MP Giles Mutsekwa in the alleged plot to assassinate President Robert Mugabe and topple the government.
Mutsekwa, together with other suspects, was arrested two weeks ago and accused of caching arms with the aim of overthrowing government but was later released after the state case collapsed. Only Peter Hitschmann, at whose house the arms were allegedly discovered, has remained in prison. He was yesterday denied bail.
Details presented to court show that five of the eight suspects were jailed for 48 hours.