New Zimbabwe.com

Lawyers want Harare killer cops arrested

LAWYERS have demanded the arrest of cops who fatally shot two civilians during protests at Harare Police Station last week.

The attorneys are representing five suspects arrested for allegedly stoning the police station as violent clashes between cops, kombi operators and vendors rocked the capital last Thursday.

Four of the suspects – Gibson Kataruware, Denis Koindo, Prince Ben and Emannuel Muzariri – earlier this week appeared before Harare magistrate Aniah Ndiraya who remanded them in custody pending bail ruling.

The fifth accused is in Parirenyatwa hospital where he is battling for his life.

Defence lawyer Bothwell Ndlovu said it was the police who should have been in the dock as prosecutors opposed bail.

Ndlovu told court his clients were arrested while seated in a kombi during the clashes.

“It’s nonsensical for the state to impose a charge on the accused and go on to deny them bail when we know for a fact that the police should be in the dock,” he said.

“It’s not in dispute that innocent civilians were killed by the police and some are battling for their lives in hospital.

“We expect the courts to not condone such police brutality and lead by example through bringing real offenders to book.”

He continued; “Where are the police in this case? How could they only pick five people out of such a crowd who protested against the police?

“If the State alleges that the accused threw stones at the police station, how come the suspects got injured while some people were killed?”

Prosecutor Sebastin Mutizirwa opposed bail and insisted that the suspects should remain custody

He added that, upon conviction, the suspects were likely to face lengthy custodial sentences which could prompt them to abscond if released on bail.

Police shot two people dead and injured four others during the confrontation over a ban on commuter minibuses in the city centre.

City authorities had banned minibuses from using pick-up points in central Harare in a bid to tackle traffic congestion, angering both drivers and passengers.

The ban was reversed within hours by the government, but police had already been deployed to implement it.

ZRP chief, commissioner general Godwin Matanga, apologised for the killings.

“I wish to announce the death of two people in a very unfortunate and regrettable incident on February 22,” he told journalists last week.

“As the (unbanning) directive was given, the police and other security agencies were still in the middle of the operation enforcing the ban and unaware of the cancellation.

“Police officers fired shots that unfortunately killed two people and injured four others.”

He said three police officers were seriously injured and three police cars were badly damaged in violent clashes that followed the shooting.