The Chairperson of GALZ, Martha Tholanah, has been summoned to appear in court on Monday 24 February 2014 to stand trial on charges of running an “unregistered” organisation.
Tholanah was recently served with summons to appear in Court 5 at Harare Magistrates Court to answer to charges of running an unregistered organisation in contravention of Section 6 (1) (3) of the Private Voluntary Organisation (PVO) Act Chapter 17:05.- ZLHR
The charges of running an unregistered organisation were preferred against Tholanah, who is represented by Tonderai Bhatasara of Mupanga Bhatasara Attorneys, a member of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), in August 2012 after police raided and conducted a search at the GALZ offices in Harare.
According to the summons, Tholanah though with the knowledge that GALZ was not registered “unlawfully took part in the management of the organisation by gathering its members and continued to carry out activities while engaging in gays and lesbians activities” in contravention of the PVO Act.
The search at the GALZ offices was preceded by instances of police harassment of members of GALZ while some materials including computers and fliers were confiscated.
However, on Tuesday 14 January 2014 High Court Judge Justice Priscilla Chigumba ordered Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri, Chief Superintendent Henry Dhowa, Detective Chief Inspector Runganga, Detective Assistant Ben Justen, and the Minister of Home Affairs to return the GALZ property. The granting of the order came after Bhatasara filed an application in the High Court in October 2012 seeking the release of the property, arguing that it was not linked to the commission of any crime. The Zimbabwe Republic Police had opposed the application and argued that it would not release the property until the completion of their probe and because they wanted to use the items as exhibits in court.
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