Job Sikhala, the head of Citizens Coalition for Change, and Godfrey Sithole, the member of parliament for Chitungwiza North, are both accused of inciting violence after attending Moreblessing Ali’s funeral.
Amnesty International Zimbabwe has been closely monitoring their cases.
The magistrate court rejected their request for bail, so the two remain in custody.
Amnesty International’s deputy director for Southern Africa, Muleya Mwananyanda, stated:
“The continued detention of Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole and the denial of their lawyers access to meet with them is an absolute travesty of justice. There is an emerging trend where critics of government and members of the opposition are consistently harassed and denied bail by the courts, brought to court in iron legs and at times denied access to their lawyers.
“Yet high profile political elites facing criminal offences are in most cases treated entirely differently with bail being granted regardless of the seriousness of the offence.
“The charges levelled against Sikhala and Sithole and the denial of bail at the magistrates court show all the hallmarks of an effort to persecute and silence political opposition by the Zimbabwean authorities.
“The authorities should refocus their efforts on ensuring that Moreblessing Ali’s killers face justice, and ensuring access to justice and effective remedies for victims and their families.”
Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole, two political opposition members, were detained on June 14 after attending Moreblessing Ali’s funeral. Political activist Ali went missing for three weeks before her body was discovered killed and dismembered on June 11.
Authorities in Zimbabwe have charged them with inciting their supporters to engage in violence in Nyatsime, Chitungwiza, during Ali’s funeral service. When they appeared in the magistrates court, they were denied bail, and they have now appealed to the High Court.
Alec Muchadehama and Jeremiah Bhamu, Sikhala’s lawyers, maintain that his arrest was carried out for political reasons. He has been detained 67 times in all on politically motivated charges without being found guilty.
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