Mental patient finally released after wrongful arrest for August 1 protest

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Following the arrest of 27 MDC supporters over the August 1 election protests, human rights lawyers sprung into action and secured their release on bail.

But as the released activists melded into the arms of their relatives, one of their number was left behind – and forgotten.

On Tuesday, the 35-year-old man – whose identity is being withheld – finally got his freedom after a month-and-a-half in remand prison.

A Harare magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa heard that the man should never have been detained for so long because he has a history of mental illness.

The activist, after three appearances in court, could not secure bail as he had no lawyers representing him.

Even then, he would exhibit signs of mental illness, singing and dancing in court each time he appeared.

Finally, he secured his freedom after his mother brought medical documents confirming that he suffers from a mental illness.


Rights lawyers representing the other suspects will now be representing the forgotten man who was released into his mother’s custody.

All the suspects including former Zanu PF legislator, now MDC supporter, Shadreck Mashayamombe, and political activist, Jim Kunanaka, will be back in court on October 9 for their trial.

According to prosecutors, the suspects together with over 500 protestors yet to be apprehended took to the streets of Harare demanding the immediate release of presidential election results on August 1 this year.

They allegedly burnt vehicles belonging to Zanu PF and destroyed shops in Harare central.

They are being accused of destroying President Emmerson Mnanagwa’s billboards at Zanu PF headquarters during a protest which left seven people dead after soldiers opened fire on the protesters.

No soldier has been arrested so far.

Meanwhile, Mnangagwa has since named a commission to investigate the August 1 protests and the army crackdown that followed.

The commission is chaired by former South African President Kgalema Motlanthe and is due to be sworn-in soon.-Zimlive