MDC- Alliance youth leaders — Harare West MP Joana Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova — yesterday appeared in court on allegations of faking their abduction.
The three were not asked to plead to allegations of publishing or communicating false statements prejudicial to the State when they appeared before regional magistrate Bianca Makwande.
Makwande remanded them in custody to Monday for bail ruling.
The three women alleged that their personal security was under threat as they have been placed under surveillance and were being followed, a claim the court ordered the State to investigate.
In opposing bail, the State argued the three were likely to abscond as they faced 20 years in jail for the alleged offence. The State said it had evidence that included videos and witnesses who saw the accused persons at the time they claimed they were abducted.
The State further argued that the MDC Alliance members had attracted widespread sympathy from foreign nations, which would aid them to flee the country.
Their lawyer, Alec Muchadehama, submitted that bail was a constitutional right that could only be denied if there were cogent reasons to decline it, which the State failed to proffer.
He argued the three were the victims and questioned the State why it was portraying them as drama queens. He said their arrest was a decoy by the State to cover up the kidnapping and sexual abuse of the suspects.
It is the State’s case that on May 13, Mamombe, Chimbiri and Marova were part of a group of youths who demonstrated in Harare in breach of coronavirus regulations.
They then allegedly claimed they had been arrested, according to the state.
Two days later, their lawyer Jeremiah Bamu advised the police that the three were at Muchapondwa Business Centre in Bindura.
The State says they claimed they had been abducted and tortured.
The State alleged that investigations by the police revealed that the trio was never abducted and that they had stage-managed the kidnapping.