AMH journalists freed on bail

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By Paul Katanda

ALPHA Media Holdings (AMH) journalists Blessed Mhlanga and Chengeto Chidi – who were arrested on allegations of violating provisions of the Electoral Act – have been granted ZW$20 000 each.

The two appeared before Chitungwiza magistrate Isheanesu Matova, who also ordered them to report once a fortnight and to continue residing at their given addresses.

They were represented by rights lawyers Jeremiah Bamu and Moses Muchineripi.

The two raised complaints against the police with, Mhlanga claiming he was severely assaulted and received fist punches from police officers during the arrest.

“The first accused was assaulted by an officer called Matsika using fists and open hands and in the process, suffered injuries on his right hand. Matsika also grabbed and smashed his Huawei cell phone,” the legal team argued.

“Many cases of police brutality are being swept under the carpet as they refuse to investigate. With regards to that your worship, having launched a report, at St Mary’s police station against the officer who smashed the accused’s cell phone, no action has been taken to date even though the said Matsika is based at St Mary’s police station,” complained the lawyers.

The lawyers complained that Matsika should have been arrested as well.

“He is even at the court being labelled as a witness against the first accused in this matter. Matsika is not being made to face justice for his crimes simply because he is a policeman.”

The court heard the two journalists were not informed of the reason for their arrest.

The state was ordered to investigate the allegations.

Prosecutors allege Mhlanga and Chidi posted videos without the permission of the constituency elections officer.

However, Mhlanga said they were arrested while shooting a documentary in Chitungwiza.

They will be back in court for their routine remand.