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By Staff Reporter
HUMAN Rights body Amnesty International has condemned the continued pretrial detention of former legislator Job Sikhala at Chikurubi Maximum Prison.
Responding to Tuesday’s High Court ruling overturning the politician’s conviction of obstruction of justice, Amnesty International said the opposition member should have been not detained in the first place.
“We welcome the High Court’s ruling. However, it has come only after Job Sikhala has lost more than 500 days of his life in pretrial detention based on trumped-up charges of obstruction of justice.
“Job Sikhala should never have been detained in the first place. That he will remain in prison on other baseless charges of incitement to commit violence and disorderly conduct is a travesty of justice and a violation of his human rights.
“This is yet another example of the Zimbabwean authorities’ ongoing weaponization of the law to target activists and opposition figures to silence dissent,” said Amnesty International deputy regional director East and Southern Africa, Khanyo Farise.
Farise said Zimbabwean authorities should immediately and unconditionally release Sikhala and drop all charges against him as he is detained solely for peacefully exercising his human rights.
Sikhala, an opposition Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) party Change Champion, was arrested on June 14, last year after attending the funeral of political activist, Moreblessing Ali.
He was convicted on May 3, 2023, for obstruction of justice and given a suspended six months sentence with an option of paying US$600 or spending six months in jail.