Zimbabwe News

Fadzayi Mahere challenges conviction, sentence

Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) spokesperson, Fadzayi Mahere, has filed an appeal at the High Court against her conviction sentence and for publishing falsehoods.

Mahere was recently convicted and fined US$500 by Harare magistrate Taurai Manuwere.

She was found guilty of publishing falsehoods in a case involving a woman whose child was erroneously reported to have been struck to death by a police officer while enforcing COVID-19-induced lockdown regulations in 2020.

In 2021, High Court judge Justice Jester Helana Charewa ruled that the law used to charge Mahere was invalid.

In her appeal, Mahere argued that Manuwere grossly erred and misdirected himself by charging her with an invalid law. Mahere said the magistrate ignored the fact that she was targeted for political prosecution.

Mahere submitted that the US$500 fine was excessive, induces a sense of shock and was against the right to freedom of expression. She wants her conviction and sentence set aside.

Meanwhile, the Commonwealth Lawyers Association (CLA) yesterday expressed concern over the alleged weaponisation of the law against government critics, while calling for the holding of free and fair elections.

In a statement, the CLA cited the recent conviction of Mahere.

“While the case may still be pending if an appeal is considered, the CLA are concerned that this case is emblematic of an approach of the authorities in Zimbabwe to constrain comment, to intimidate people from free and public discourse and to chill debate. The CLA very much hopes this will not prove to be the case in the run up to the elections,” CLA said.

CLA said government had a duty to uphold Article 58 of the Constitution which states that every person has the right to freedom of assembly and association.

“CLA urges the government in Zimbabwe to ensure that journalists, and government opposition, and representatives of civil society in Zimbabwe can exercise their rights of freedom of expression and assembly… encourages a free and fair and transparent election process in which all can have confidence.”

CLA is an international non-profit organisation which promotes the rule of law throughout the Commonwealth.

Zimbabwe has applied to rejoin the bloc.

Source: NewsDay

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