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Sunday, May 19, 2024
HomeNewsHuman Rights Lawyers Demand Explanation Over Amnesty Convicted Rapist

Human Rights Lawyers Demand Explanation Over Amnesty Convicted Rapist

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has raised concerns and demanded an explanation from the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service (ZPCS) Commissioner General Moses Chihobvu regarding the release of a convicted rapist under a recent presidential amnesty order.

In a statement ZLHR, a prominent human rights organization, expressed their dismay over the irregular circumstances surrounding the release of the convict from Harare Central Prison.

“Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has demanded an explanation from Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service (ZPCS) over the irregular circumstances which led to the release of a convicted rapist from Harare Central Prison under a recent presidential amnesty order,” ZLHR said

The individual in question, Bobby Makaza, a 59-year-old resident of Murehwa in Mashonaland East province, was set free from Harare Central Prison on May 19, 2023, under a presidential amnesty declared by President Emmerson Mnangagwa on May 12, 2023.

The amnesty, outlined in Clemency Order No. 1 of 2023, aimed to reduce the prison population and extended to certain inmates, including those convicted of sexual offenses.

ZLHR lawyers Tinashe Chinopfukutwa and Paidamoyo Saurombe, representing Makaza’s victim, have been appointed to seek a detailed explanation from ZPCS Commissioner-General Moses Chihobvu regarding the basis upon which Makaza qualified for the amnesty and subsequent release from Harare Central Prison.

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Chinopfukutwa and Saurombe, in their letter to Chihobvu, highlighted that the 15-year-old minor was raped by Makaza in 2018.

Makaza had stood trial at Murehwa Magistrates Court in Mashonaland East province and was convicted and sentenced to an effective 16-year prison term on April 2, 2019, for the offense of rape as defined in section 65 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

According to ZLHR, the legal provisions within Clemency Order No. 1 of 2023, specifically section 12(d) as read with 13(c), excluded inmates convicted of specified offenses such as rape from benefiting from the presidential amnesty.

The lawyers argue that Makaza, being convicted of rape, should not have been eligible for amnesty and subsequent release.

In their letter, Chinopfukutwa and Saurombe demanded a prompt response from Commissioner-General Chihobvu, setting a deadline of Friday, July 7, 2023, for clarification on the matter.

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