Linda Masarira vows to challenge sentence

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Firebrand pro-democracy activist Linda Masarira has vowed to appeal her conviction and 18 month sentence by a Mbare magistrate’s court on Wednesday.

Mbare magistrate Stanmore Mambanje found Masarira guilty of obstructing traffic during a citizen protest held in July 2016.Linda Masarira

But the activist slammed her conviction which she said was a travesty of justice.

“It is only in the abyss of nonsensical reasoning wherein you find a presiding judicial officer delivering such an uncouth sentence.”

“I am appealing against the sentence; Aluta continua!” she said Wednesday after her conviction.

Masarira, who is no stranger to the courts following her protests against the Zanu PF led government’s excesses, said her conviction and sentence was politically motivated.

“The judgement was politically motivated and a tragic travesty of justice. I was found guilty because all police officers could positively identify me which is not a merit in the case,” Masarira said.

Seven months of her sentence were suspended on condition she did not commit a similar offence in the next five years.

For the remaining 11 months, Masarira was given an option to perform 385 hours of community service at Marlborough Clinic in Harare.

She was ordered to report to the facility on a daily basis for 12 weeks.

The activist was charged, alongside nine other Mufakose residents who were however acquitted, for contravening Section 38 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23.

This was after she allegedly “obstructed or endangered” free movement of persons or vehicles during the July 6, 2016 national job boycott widely referred to as the national shutdown.

ZimRights on Tuesday expressed concern over Masarira’s sentence.

“ZimRights is deeply worried by the conviction and subsequent sentencing of the human rights activist and democracy campaigner for duly exercising her constitutional right to peacefully demonstrate and petition the authorities in search of good governance,” said the group in a statement.

Last year, the activist stayed 82 days in remand prison at Chikurubi Maximum Prison, spending part of the incarceration in solitary confinement in a male section.

About 11 days ago, Masarira was hospitalised at a private hospital after being assaulted inside a lorry by anti-riot police.

She had visited Parirenyatwa Hospital, where medical doctors were on strike, to demand for an immediate resolution to the health crisis that was affecting patients’ right to get medical care.

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