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ZIM NGO DIRECTOR SEIZED FROM REMAND PRISON
14 June 2010

Farai Maguwu, the director of Centre for Research and Development (CRD), charged under Zimbabwe's criminal law for allegedly sharing illegally obtained confidential state documents regarding the Chiadzwa diamond fields with the KP Monitor Abbey Chikane, was illegally seized last Friday from the Harare Remand Prison, where he was to be held until June 23.

After a Harare magistrate denied bail to Maguwu last Thursday, citing reasonable suspicion of the charges against him, Maguwu's lawyer, Tinoviza Bere, attempted to appeal the decision to the High Court the next day. Since the courts were not fully operational because of the start of the World Cup, says Bere, the law team was forced to wait until today, Monday morning, to start filing the Bail Appeal papers.

However, it appears that at some point on Friday, Maguwu was illegally and secretly taken from the remand prison by police and transferred to Mbare's notorious Matapi Police station, where he was eventually located on Saturday, June 12.

"We have just received bad news from friends and relatives of Farai who we asked to keep an eye on the ground that Farai was taken illegally or without our knowledge or consent and without his consent from Harare Remand Prison to Mbare's notorious Matapi Police cells," writes Bere in a communication dated June 12.

Bere feared that Maguwu was transported by the CID Law and Order to the Matapi Police cells for purposes of interrogation and or torture "considering the complaints by Farai's brother of torture by some in the same team of investigators," writes Bere. He went on to explain that while Maguwu had been in the remand prison, he and others on the legal team had so far managed to prevent possible torture or harassment "by being present at almost all normal times and at the police station. We stopped the costly surveillance and visits because normally once remanded the Police no longer have control or access to the Accused. But Zimbabwe is not normal and so anything is possible. We noted the exasperation of the police with our constant high powered presence at the side of Farai and are not surprised, (just infuriated) that they have acted as they did," writes Bere.

Sources say that Maguwu's condition from 11 am to 1 pm on Friday was not known and therefore Bere and his team were not aware of what was or wasn't done to him. "He was later moved to CID Law and Order for interrogation and we are yet to hear more details from the lawyers who are following him," Bere told The Standard, and added that Farai is supposed to have been examined by a medical practitioner. Matapi police have denied Bere access to Maguwu, according to the report.

Says Bere in his communication: "Should Farai suffer any harm to his rights or person, the lesson for the court who could have and should have liberated Farai is that the courts that do not act to protect the innocent and desperate victims of this repressive systems do bear the blame for the wounds and or blood of victims. These authorities are determined."

Maguwu met with Abbey Chikane on June 1 and subsequently turned himself into the police on June 3rd, after his home and offices were raided by police and his family member tortured. He first appeared in court on Tuesday June 8 and was charged under the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Section 31 for allegedly publishing or communicating false information. Last Thursday, he was denied bail on the grounds that he faces serious charges and was likely to interfere with investigations.

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