High Court judge, Justice David Mangota yesterday ordered the release of pro-democracy activist Linda Masarira after he declared that her three-month incarceration for alleged public violence was illegal.
The ruling came after several attempts by her lawyers, Tendai Biti, Andrew Makoni and Obey Shava to have her released on bail at the magistrates’ courts hit a snag.
Masarira also had a warrant of arrest awaiting her for failing to appear at the Mutare Magistrates’ Court on a different case.
Masarira had languished in remand prison since her arrest on July 6, 2016, for allegedly obstructing or endangering free movement of persons or vehicles during the massive shutdown led by cleric, Evan Mawarire.
Her lawyers said: “We had sought a habeas corpus order (a recourse in law whereby a person can report an unlawful detention or imprisonment before a court) because her inordinate incarceration is illegal and has no basis at law. Justice Mangota ruled in our favour.”
The pro-democracy campaigner had been denied bail on the basis that she was on an outstanding warrant of arrest in another matter, where she is appearing at Mutare Magistrates’ Court.
The opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) yesterday hailed the judiciary for upholding the Constitution and ordering her immediate release.
“As the PDP, we are pleased in that the courts remain brave and continue to uphold the Constitution despite unjustified threats by Zanu PF’s [President] Robert Mugabe,” the party said in a statement.