34 apostolic sect members and opposition supporters charged with criminal nuisance escape jail

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By Staff Reporter

THIRTY FOUR vapositori congregants convicted of criminal nuisance Monday for staging anti-government protests have escaped jail time after they were given a wholly suspended three months sentence.

They were also ordered to pay ZW$12,000 fine each by Harare Magistrate, Stanford Mambanje.

All convicts belong to a fringe opposition party Zimbabwe Transformative Party (ZTP), led by 52 year-old Kanyenzura Parere.

The ZTP president, who is charged with a different offence of convening an unsanctioned gathering, is still in jail and set to be back in court Friday for continuation of trial which is drawing to an end.

In sentencing the group, Mambanje considered they were first offenders, rural folks and also that the majority were young women.

He also said they had already spent a long time in prison.

“They are all first offenders, one of the accused is a City of Harare employee and the other is a teacher.,” said the magistrate.

“The majority are rural folks. They declined to apply for bail. The maximum sentence for the offence is six months, and the accused have been in prison since (their arrest).”

The 34 were arrested by the police on July 9, 2022 and charged with criminal nuisance.

Prosecutors proved the group unlawfully acted in a manner which was likely to create a nuisance by walking in Harare’s central business district disturbing free passage and movement of people and vehicles.

State said they did not comply with ordered to stop.

The sect members were represented by Evans Moyo of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZHLR).