MBARE Magistrate Manase Masiiwa on Tuesday 26 May 2020 set free two journalists after they spent 4 nights in detention following their arrest last week for allegedly failing to comply with directions issued by some Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) members to observe social distancing guidelines between themselves and a few detained victims of abduction and torture.
The 2 journalists Frank Chikowore, a contract journalist and Samuel Takawira, who works for 263Chat, who have been arrested on Friday 22 May 2020 by some ZRP members at Parktown Hospital in Waterfalls suburb in Harare while allegedly filming and interviewing some victims of abduction and torture currently detained at the medical facility, have been granted RTGS$500 bail each by Magistrate Masiiwa.
Chikowore and Takawira have been charged with contravening section 11(b) of Statutory Instrument 83 of 2020, Public Health (COVID-19 Prevention, Containment and Treatment) (National Lockdown) Order, 2020.
Throughout their preliminary appearance at Mbare Magistrates Courtroom on Saturday 23 May 2020, prosecutors alleged that Chikowore and Takawira, who have been represented by Paidamoyo Saurombe and Tonderai Bhatasara of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights failed or refused with out sufficient cause to adjust to any request made or route given by a police officer when they allegedly sneaked into the High Dependency Unit at Parktown Hospital to interview Harare West legislator Joanna Mamombe and MDC Alliance party youth leaders Cecelia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova, who’re at the moment hospitalised on the medical facility after they were abducted and disappeared and tortured by some but to be recognized individuals.
In setting free Chikowore and Takawira, Magistrate Masiiwa dominated that prosecutors had failed to advance cogent reasons to warrant denying bail to the 2 journalists.
Magistrate Masiiwa ordered Chikowore and Takawira not to intervene with state witnesses and to proceed residing at their given residential addresses till their matter is finalised.
The 2 journalists return to courtroom on Monday 15 June 2020