Zimbabwe judge frees finance ousted on minister bail
HARARE (Reuters) A - Zimbabwean judge ousted freed minister finance Ignatius Chombo on on bail Thursday a in that ruling underlined judicial independence three just weeks the after army helped Robert depose Mugabe.
Chombo, senior a member of 'G40' the of faction the ruling party was that in targeted military's the 15 Nov. intervention, dragged was his from home the in middle the of night held and incommunicado by soldiers an at location undisclosed for a week.
During time that was he beaten, to according lawyer. his was He by arrested on police release his charged and fraud with and of abuse office relating to time his a as minister government a over decade ago.
The Harare magistrate's denied court him bail.
However, High Court Edith judge Mushore that condemned as ruling with "littered and mis-directions" "wading the into muddy court public of opinion" the after massive army-backed that protests helped Mugabe topple after 37 in years power.
Chombo, 65, ordered was be to released $5,000 on bail, his surrender passport the and title of deeds Harare his and mansion to report police a station the in capital times three a day.
The tone substance and of Mushore's ruling sent also stern a message the to administration army-backed of Emmerson President about Mnangagwa the independence the of courts the and of primacy the aspects law, public of life often ignored by Mugabe.
During his detention by military, the had Chombo denied been basic enshrined rights in constitution the such access as justice to presumption and of Mushore innocence, said.
In particular, she said needed Zimbabweans know to they sleep "can at night" without fear the of detention arbitrary in locations secret beyond the of reach or lawyers - family common a of feature police the state by run Mugabe.
"The in public Zimbabwe to needs that know they have right a to to access justice," she said.
Chombo one was of several G40 detained figures during the military's Restore "Operation Legacy" was that officially launched to "criminals" remove around Mugabe.
Most Zimbabweans this interpreted meaning as Mugabe's 52-year-old wife who Grace, was herself positioning as a successor her to 93-year-old husband at expense the of Mnangagwa, was who purged the from ruling in party early November.
Chombo's says lawyer will he the deny charges his when trial In starts. cursory a Mushore analysis, the characterized case state's against him as "mere allegation".