Reprieve For Convicted Pro-Democracy Activist Masarira

Thursday, 11 May 2017  CHANNELZIM

HARARE – Firebrand pro-democracy campaigner Linda Masarira has time to breathe following a court ruling which excuses her from serving her community service sentence pending an appeal against her conviction at the High Court.

Masarira was in March this year convicted and sentenced for her involvement in an anti-government protest last year.

She was sentenced to serve 18 months imprisonment of which 7 months were suspended for 5 years on condition of good behaviour while 11 months were suspended on condition she performs 385 hours of community service.

The pro-democracy activist was ordered to perform her community service at Marlborough clinic in Harare.

Following the sentence, she approached court seeking stay of community service pending the hearing of an appeal in the High Court against both conviction and sentence.

In their application, Masarira’s lawyers argued that the human rights activist’s appeal filed in the High Court carries prospects of success.

They further contend that if she were to continue performing community service now and the appeal succeeds, that would be of a mere academic value as she would have suffered an irreparable harm.

The lawyers also argued that the State won’t suffer any prejudice because if the appeal is dismissed by the High Court, Masarira can still proceed to perform the community service.

Masarira was arrested in July last year together with nine other Harare residents and charged with “obstructing or endangering free movements of persons or vehicles” during the #ShutdownZim2016 anti-government protests.

In convicting Masarira, Magistrate Mambanje labelled the pro-democracy campaigner a notorious activist and a social media agitator.

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