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Journalists facing treason charges need medical attention before legal proceedings, say lawyers

(MISA/IFEX) - Lawyers representing Zimbabwe Peace Project director Jestina Mukoko and freelance photojournalist Shadreck Manyere on 5 January 2009 argued for the suspension of proceedings against their clients at the Magistrates' Courts pending the outcome of an appeal filed with the High Court before Justice Mary-Ann Gowora.

The defence counsel filed an urgent chamber application on 5 January 2009 for Mukoko, Manyere and other co-accused to get access to medical treatment arguing that following their enforced disappearances they had been tortured and might not be in the right frame of mind to appreciate the proceedings of the court.

The defence argued that the appeal was central to the entire case as it dealt with issues of liberty, and the legality or validity of the same proceedings. It was on this premise that the defence called for the immediate release of the accused persons. The prayer for the release of the accused was also supported by reference to a High Court order for the accused persons to be released since their arrest and detention were unlawful and that they should be medically examined.

Proceedings were planned to continue on 6 January 2009 at the Magistrates' Courts.

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