Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Zimbabwe Prison Service sued over death row inmates

By Daniel Nemukuyu

A GROUP of lawyers doing public interest litigation for free have taken the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) to court challenging its decision to deny them access to about 90 death row inmates at Harare Remand Prison who they intend to provide legal counsel in defence of their right to life.

Commissioner-General Paradzai Zimondi
Commissioner-General Paradzai Zimondi

Tendai Biti Law Firm is currently representing 17 others who are locked up at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison pending Constitutional Court challenges but ZPCS Commissioner-General Retired Major-General Paradzai Zimondi had denied the lawyers access to those awaiting execution at Harare Remand Prison.

The lawyers argued that Government was finalising the recruitment of a hangman for the purposes of commencing the execution of the condemned inmates.

They also argued that the recent public call by President Mugabe for the restoration of the full effects of death penalty, with all its conditions that existed prior to the adoption of the new Constitution in 2013, was also an indication that execution was now imminent.

To that end, the lawyers filed an urgent chamber application at the High Court seeking an order compelling Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) to allow them access to their clients and all other inmates awaiting capital punishment, in defence of their constitutional right to life.

In the urgent chamber application filed on Thursday, the law firm cited ZPCS and its Comm-Gen Retired Maj-Gen Paradzai Zimondi as respondents.

The lawyers, in the interim, want the court to compel ZPCS to allow them to visit all the death row inmates, interview them and to inform them of their rights.

They are seeking costs against Comm-Gen Zimondi on a punitive scale because, according to the lawyers, he has acted in a manner that disrespects the fundamental rights, freedoms, democratic values and principles as enshrined in the supreme law of the country.

The law firm, which does public interest litigation for free, has represented at least 17 prisoners at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison and some of their challenges are still pending at the Constitutional Court.

When the 17 were represented by the same lawyers years back, Comm-Gen Zimondi granted access and allowed the law firm to file court applications on the prisoners’ behalf.

Tendai Biti Law Firm argued in its papers that the prisons boss was discriminating against about 90 other prisoners who are locked up at Harare Central Prison by denying the lawyers access to them.

“We contend that the position taken by first respondent (Comm-Gen Zimondi) is totally unreasonable, grossly irrational and ridiculous to say the least. For status, first respondent’s actions discriminate against prisoners at Harare Remand Prison. At Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison, he allowed us access and we have been able to work with these prisoners.“He cannot deny the prisoners at Harare Remand Prison the same benefit,” reads the papers.

The lawyers said Comm-Gen Zimondi was breaching the right to equal protection to death row prisoners at Harare Remand Prison as guaranteed by Section 56 of the Constitution.

The right to a legal practitioner of their choice was also being violated by the ZPCS boss’ decision.

“Every prisoner enjoys the right to challenge his condition in terms of the Constitution. The prisoner cannot exercise such right without information and without legal advice. By denying us the right and opportunity of conversing with those prisoners, the first respondent is breaching their rights,” the lawyers argued.

Comm-Gen Zimondi, the lawyers argued, has dismally failed to uphold the Constitution.

“We find it extremely ridiculous that 37 years after independence, a freedom fighter such as the first respondent can adopt the attitude reflected in his letter of the 31st of October 2017. He failed and failed dismally to uphold the Constitution. His conduct is shameful, crass and regrettable and this is why we seek costs against him in this application to be paid on a scale as between attorney and client,” reads the court papers.

The application is yet to be set down for hearing at the High Court. The Herald

  • Regai vaurawe kana vakatongerwa death.

    • Vakatongerwa nani , vana vangani vawakaurira mumacondom iwe uchatongwa nani

    • ngavarovererwe taura hako Gwingai

  • Zvigoshandei Hure ra Mugabe richitonga

  • Wedenga pindiraiwo vana vapera kufira muhwubatwa.

  • It’s not a group. It’s one law firm ikutsvaga basa.

  • Do not kill .

    • so why dd thy kill let them face the music deathrow sekuziva kwangu haiiswe maFirst offenders inoiswa horomori chaidzo dzanetsa

  • If they killed with actual intent, let them be killed also

  • lawyers are stupid smtyms instead of offering their free services tu thoz in need like thoz unfairly dismissed workers thoz raped n thoz for maintaining cases hw stupid thy are yu see thy a upto probe a point its nt abt hlp siyanai nemhondi dzitongwe batsirai vanotambura kana mashaya basa

  • What if some of them are political prisoners since the Robart Mugabe method of ruling include killing of those who pose a threat to his rule. Yet out there we are told that they are murderers… Why don’t they want these ppl to be seen….? All those supporting ZANU pf at this point, really, I wonder if they understand or know that they also deserve a better lyf on this earth… ZANU pf a bunch of criminals and thief’s…..

  • No one has the right to take another person’s life regardless the crime….Why is Zimbabwe still stuck in the Dark Ages ??

    • My question exactly.

    • But most of them are there because they murdered someone. If so then who are they that they can also face the music?

    • Oka Kutsvaira life in prison yes but not to take some1’s life, only God gives life and only God can take away life.

    • Oka Kutsvaira life in prison yes but not to take some1’s life, only God gives life and only God can take away life.

    • I agree with you Mr Chirwa, it’s these so called lawyers who wants to disturb the whole process.

    • i disagree with you chirwa totaly, government is there for Gods sake,if someone fails to houner Gods law that reads dont kill,himself must be punished,killed also,who is he to cause saffuring of other families when himself remain alive and reletives and wife visiting him? wear others shoes and speek as someone who got his wife,husbund,father,son,daughter etc were murdered in a cold blood,it pains a lot,dont aproach the issue from mhondi side,takeit from the innocent family left by the deceased,

  • Problem is such kind of lawyers have never come across rapists who murder and rob and kill. If you have a relative who was killed by such barbaric humans you wouldn’t sympathise with them.

    • Taura hko mkuru wangu……point……kna usina hama yakambouraiwa unoona sekuti i drama bt kna aripo you feel the pain and hauzonzwi tsitsi kna ukanzwa kuty vaurayi varikutongerwa rufu.Kna ukanzwa tsitsi you are 1 of those criminals.Utsinye unopedzwa neutsinyewo no mercy.

  • No mercy to killers,rapists and robbers.Zvakafanana neku nzwira muroyi tsitsi paanenge achipondwa.Mangwana anoroya wekwenyu you see.Unonzwira munhu akauraya kana ku raper vanhu 10 tsitsi,iye munhu 1 asi vaakatadzira i10 you peoples of Zimbabwe come on man this is not fair ngaaaafe.Iyeye anoti asafa ngakuuraiwe iye.

  • Zvekudhakwa murivanamwari munotongera munhu mazuva elutarama panyika ngavashande kana vachemberakusvika 80 years vobudiswa vazozvifira vega kwete kudambura munhu musoro ndo hunhu hwekwani ihwohwo saka maitengeswa namaarab muchinzi manon belivers hsmunatsitsi

  • These lawyers are not organized. What if the government just decide to execute them because they don’t want to spend their precious time dealing with condemned people. Will you be able to defend them like you are trying to do now? Stay calm as long as they are alive.

  • What if they didn’t kill…. It was a plot by varidzi venyika… Don’t mind me just saying 😅😅😅

  • What if they didn’t kill…. It was a plot by varidzi venyika… Don’t mind me just saying 😅😅😅

  • Especially if the convicts are murderers where these lawyer shit and sei vasinga represent those already dead. Ignorant law firm nosense pane ane bag ririkudiwa mbavha dzavanhu

  • Especially if the convicts are murderers where these lawyer shit and sei vasinga represent those already dead. Ignorant law firm nosense pane ane bag ririkudiwa mbavha dzavanhu

  • Especially if the convicts are murderers where these lawyer shit and sei vasinga represent those already dead. Ignorant law firm nosense pane ane bag ririkudiwa mbavha dzavanhu

  • Muurayi anofanira kufa kuti asaramba achiuraya

  • Hangers to hang the killers not the deadones

  • i dont support rapist and murderers they should face reality,but at the same time legal represantation is needed when someone is tried in the courts of laws,not to wait untill is convicted,then you come with your bag of ideas,where were these lawyers when these inmates were convicted? aaaaaaaa they must stop pretending

  • The law is stubborn sometimes. Its very unfair to value the life of someone didn’t value someone’s life.

  • Everyone has a right to legal counsel