LATEST: MDC election violence suspects freed

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By Court Reporter

TWENTY-SEVEN MDC Alliance activists accused of inciting last week’s election protests which claimed six lives have been freed on $50 bail each.

Harare magistrate Nyasha Vhitorini Tuesday ruled that bail was a right and as such, should not be denied on any individual regardless of what charges they were facing.

The suspects are denying the allegations arguing that they were caught in a dragnet arrest and did not even participate in the protests.

Court was told that most of the suspects were caught in crossfire after they had sought refuge at Morgan Richard Tsvangirai House, the MDC-T’s main headquarters in Harare.

According to lawyers representing the group, about five suspects are security officers responsible for guarding the MDC-T HQ and were on duty when they got arrested.

Some of the suspects are employed as general hands by MDC and were also at work when police stormed the building last week to retrieve them from a room in which they had been hiding.

The lawyers told court that the employees agreed to stay at the party’s headquarters after realising it was no longer safe to go outside following fatal shooting incidents by soldiers who had been deployed into the city centre to assist the police containing the protests.

Court also heard that some were polling agents who had just arrived from Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe and were submitting returns at Harvest House when the shooting started.

However, prosecuting, Michael Reza accused the suspects of triggering the protests and causing the deaths.

The state also alleges that the accused were photographed setting cars on fire and attacking law enforcement agents.

The 27, who include seven women, are facing public violence charges.

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