HARARE – Lawyers representing Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) lawmaker Amos Chibaya and 24 party activists, arrested weekend for allegedly holding an unsanctioned meeting, on Tuesday complained that some of their clients were brought to court putting on tattered prison garb which left them “almost naked”.
Advocate Wilbert Mandinde, representing the detained activists, said his clients were not advised of their right to come to court decently dressed adding that they would, instead, have preferred to appear on their own more decent attire.
Mandinde asked court to allow the activists to wear their own clothing during their next appearance this Wednesday.
“We ask that they may come to court dressed in their personal clothing,” he said.
“We note this concern, and the fact that most of them are in tatters with some almost naked.
“We urge the court to give an order that the accused be allowed to use personal clothing for the purposes of court proceedings.”
Presiding magistrate Yeukai Dzuda ordered the state to look into the matter.
As the matter proceeded, Justice for Children lawyers asked to have the matter heard on camera since one of the suspects, who they are now representing, is a minor.
Michael Reza, representing the state, concurred with Pamela Musingwa, who was representing the minor saying, “It will not be in the interest of justice to traumatise the minor by asking her questions in front of strangers”
Chris Mhike, who is representing some of the activists, also insisted that the matter be heard in a public court because it was a case of national interest.
The matter was rolled over to Wednesday when the presiding magistrate is expected to hand down her ruling on the issue.
Out of the accused lot, only the 17-year-old is out on free bail.
Her alleged accomplices are yet to apply for bail.