Socialist Worker

Zimbabwe prosecutor demands heavy sentences for socialists

Issue No. 2294

A state prosecutor in Zimbabwe has made an incendiary new statement in the trial of six socialists accused of “conspiring to commit public violence”.

The main business of the trial has finished and the defendants are awaiting a ruling from the magistrate on Monday of next week.

But prosecutor Michael Reza has made a submission to the court asserting the defendants’ guilt and demanding they should be “punished heavily”.

The six were among 50 people arrested when police raided an International Socialist Organisation meeting in February last year.

The meeting was showing videoed news reports of the Arab Spring. The submission claims the meeting was planning a revolt in Zimbabwe—an allegation Reza provided no evidence for.

The prosecution case was based on the testimony of a spy who infiltrated the meeting—and was proved to have lied under oath.

The submission states, “The uprising had gone beyond the planning stage. The date had been set (1 March 2011), the place set (Africa Unity Square), communication method agreed on (email, texting).

It adds, “All that remained was the arrival of the appointed date. “The crime had been complete at that stage.”

The state’s case was so weak that the defence called for it to be thrown out. The court’s refusal to do this shows how determined Zimbabwe’s government is to silence opposition.

The six are Munyaradzi Gwisai, Tafadzwa Choto, Tatenda Mombeyarara, Edson Chakuma, Hopewell Gumbo and Welcome Zimuto

If the six are found guilty on 19 March they could be sentenced to ten years imprisonment. Activists around the world must be ready to campaign against such a travesty of justice.

Demonstrate outside the Zimbabwean embassy:
Tuesday 20 March, 12.30 – 1.30pm, 429 Strand, London WC2R 0JR

Protest to the Embassy of the Republic of Zimbabwe in London on 020 7379 1167, email zimlondon@yahoo.co.uk or write to Zimbabwe House, 429 Strand, London WC2R 0QE.

Send money to support the defendants to:
ISO Zim Solidarity, Unity Bank, Birmingham, Sort Code: 08-60-01,Account number 20136938.

• Send a solidarity message to:
solidarity@freethemnow.com


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