Hundreds of lawyers protested outside Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Court on January 29,2019 to demand justice for those detained during mass arrests during a brutal security crackdown after widespread protests earlier this month, according to Reuters.
Police officials said more than 1,000 have been arrested since Jan. 14 after widespread violence and looting broke out following an announcement from President Emmerson Mnangagwa which drastically increased fuel prices.
Many of those charged during the protests have been denied bail which lawyers said was a violation of their rights.
Zimbabwe’s High Court ordered the release on bail of activist pastor Evan Mawarire who was arrested on subversion charges and was held at a maximum security prison in Harare for tweeting in support of the strike.
Mawarire, who was a prominent critic of former strongman leader Robert Mugabe, faces up to two decades in jail if he is convicted.
He was ordered to deposit $2,000 with the court and report to police three times a week for check-ins along with surrendering the title deed to his property as part of his bail conditions.
Nearly 50 people have been acquitted on charges of public violence while an equal number have been convicted with some sentences reaching up to seven years, according to ZLHR.
Mnangagwa promised to investigate allegations of violence, torture, and rape from the security officers during the crackdown after residents claimed soldiers were carrying out night-time raids on homes to remove and beat alleged protesters.
The President ordered the arrest of a soldier and police officer who were filmed assaulting a man who was already in handcuffs.
But the opposition cast doubt on the president’s promises since no one has been held accountable for six people who were shot by the military after post-election violence last August.