By Costa Nkomo
HARARE magistrate Trynos Utahwashe Thursday berated prison officers who brought into his court, opposition leader Jacob Ngarivhume with handcuffs stuck in his right hand in violation of court rules.
Prison officers are supposed to remove handcuffs and leg irons for accused persons being brought before court.
Ngarivhume, who is facing inciting public violence charges emanating from the foiled July 31 protests he spearheaded, had appeared in court Thursday on routine remand.
“Why is he in handcuffs? What are they for? He is not supposed to be in handcuffs,” Utahwashe said.
A prison officer who was guarding Ngarivhume told Utahwashe the handcuffs had jammed.
“The handcuffs have developed a fault Your Worship and we could not remove them. We have been trying for the last hour but to no avail,” the officer said.
Moses Nkomo, Ngarivhume’s lawyer believed the jamming of handcuffs in his client’s hand was not coincidental given the tough condition the opposition leader has allegedly suffered at Chikurubi Maximum Prison.
“He came in court with handcuffs and prison officers indicated that the handcuffs developed a fault and they could not remove them. The magistrate was not amused and more so, we as lawyers too, we are not amused.
“We believe some of these things are not a coincidence, but we continue to keep faith and hope for the best,” Nkomo later told journalists outside the Harare Magistrate’s Court.
Despite a High Court order directing prison officials to observe rights of the accused persons including access to food and their lawyers, Nkomo said prison patrons were still not allowing his clients his constitutional rights.