Mtetwa being targetted


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Beatrice Mtetwa, who was representing Movement for Democratic Change treasurer Roy Bennett, told United States embassy officials that she had become a target of the state.

Bennett, who was facing terrorism and sabotage charges, had just been granted bail but a Mutare magistrate who ordered his clerk to accept bail for Bennett was arrested on charges of criminally abusing his office.

Livingstone Chipadza was accused of trying to free Bennett when he was aware that the Supreme Court was looking into Bennett’s bail decision by the High Court.

Mtetwa said she had been informed by her contact at police headquarters that the attorney-general’s office was considering ordering her arrest.

She said she was followed by two unmarked Isuzu 4×4 trucks, which she suspected were driven by Central Intelligence Organization officers.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 09HARARE218, MDC’S BENNETT RELEASED ON BAIL; STATE CONSIDERS

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

09HARARE218

2009-03-12 14:53

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO7688

OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0218/01 0711453

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 121453Z MAR 09 ZDK

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4216

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2691

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2812

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1276

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2080

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2436

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2860

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5299

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1982

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000218

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B. WALCH

DRL FOR N. WILETT

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR J. HARMON AND L. DOBBINS

STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR MICHELLE GAVIN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/12/2019

TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM ASEC ZI

SUBJECT: MDC’S BENNETT RELEASED ON BAIL; STATE CONSIDERS

ARRESTING HIS LAWYER

 

Classified By: Ambassador James D. McGee for reason 1.4 (d)

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

¶1. (C) Jailed Deputy Minister of Agriculture-designate Roy

Bennett was released from a Mutare jail on March 12 after the

Supreme Court Chief Justice upheld a previous, lower court

decision to grant Bennett bail. The magistrate who

originally ordered Benntt’s release after a High Court order

granting bil, and was consequently arrested on March 5 for

abuse of office, was released on March 7. Bennett’s lawyer

has been informed that she may be arrested for contempt of

court. END SUMMARY.

 

————————————–

Roy Freed as State Runs Out of Appeals

————————————–

 

¶2. (SBU) On March 12, Deputy Minister of

Agriculture-designate and MDC treasurer Roy Bennett was

released from jail following the determination on March 11 by

Zimbabwean Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku to uphold a

lower court decision granting Bennett bail. Bennett still

faces charges of terrorism, insurgency, sabotage or banditry,

but was released from a Mutare prison at noon on March 12

after posting US$5,000 bail, surrendering his travel

documents and property deed, and agreeing to appear at a

Harare police station three times a week. According to

Bennett’s lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, while Justice Chidyausiku

made the terms of Bennett’s bail stricter, Bennett was able

to meet the conditions.

 

¶3. (SBU) The appeal to the Supreme Court to reconsider the

February 24 decision by High Court Judge Tedious Karwi to

grant Bennett bail was the last legal opportunity available

to State prosecutors to keep Bennett locked up. Chidyausiku

deliberated for a full day after hearing arguments on March

10 before making his ruling on March 11. Bennett’s

incarceration had already been extended by Supreme Court

Judge Paddington Garwe on March 4 when he granted the State

permission to appeal the High Court ruling. Bennett has been

in jail since his arrest on February 13.

 

——————————————— –

Magistrate’s Office Fearful to Process Release

——————————————— –

 

¶4. (SBU) On March 5, Livingstone Chipadza, the Mutare

magistrate who ordered his clerk to accept bail for Bennett,

was himself arrested by the police on charges of criminally

abusing his office. Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena

said that Chipadza signed a warrant of liberation knowing

that the Supreme Court would review the High Court’s bail

decision. Chipadza has argued that he was merely executing

the March 4 High Court ruling to grant Bennett bail.

Chipadza has been released on bail and remanded for a hearing

on March 17.

 

¶5. (C) Mtetwa told poloff that Chipadza’s replacement was

very hesitant to accept bail and release Bennett after

Chidyausiku’s decision, and required multiple assurances by

the office of Chief Magistrate Mandeya before processing his

Qthe office of Chief Magistrate Mandeya before processing his

warrant of liberation.

 

——————————-

Bennett’s Lawyer Being Targeted

——————————-

 

 

HARARE 00000218 002 OF 002

 

 

¶6. (C) Disturbingly, Mtetwa informed us that she also has

become a target of the State. On March 11, she received a

warning from a personal contact at police headquarters that

the Attorney General’s office was considering ordering her

arrest this weekend on charges of contempt of court. She

called two other contacts within the police for confirmation.

One refused to comment while the other confirmed that the

threat was real. Mtetwa also mentioned that she was followed

several nights ago by two unmarked Isuzu 4×4 trucks, which

she suspected may have been driven by Central Intelligence

Organization officers. She plans on avoiding her home this

weekend.

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

¶7. (C) The Bennett case is indicative of the degree to which

Zimbabwe’s legal process has been abused by ZANU-PF

loyalists. First, a Mutare magistrate was arrested for

attempting to execute a High Court decision granting Bennett

bail. This was followed by Attorney General Tomana –a vocal

ZANU-PF supporter– appealing what appeared to be the

reasoned bail decision by the High Court judge for the

primary purpose of extending Bennett’s incarceration. While

we are encouraged that Bennett’s release was eventually

secured, reports that his lawyer is now under threat of

arrest demonstrates that hard-liners aren’t giving up. END

COMMENT.

 

MCGEE

 

(4 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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