HARARE – Teachers’ union leader Obert Masaraure was freed on bail by the High Court on Wednesday.
Masaraure, 37, was arrested on June 14 accused of murdering his friend Roy Issa in 2016, and a lower court subsequently denied him bail.
The Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union (ARTUZ) president filed an appeal at the High Court through the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.
Justice Munamato Mutevedzi freed the trade unionist on Z$60,000 bail with conditions, including a requirement that he surrenders his passport and reports at a police station once every week.
The judge agreed with Masaraure’s lawyers that there was no basis to deny him bail after he went to a police station, as part of his bail conditions in a separate matter, knowing that he was likely to be arrested.
Masaraure’s lawyer Doug Coltart said: “This is a classic case of trumped-up charges. Masaraure believes in his innocence, he knows he’s innocent.
“The court said the grounds on which bail was opposed were completely baseless.”
Coltart said they would “demonstrate that Obert Masaraure was not even present at the scene when Roy Issa died.”
Issa was all along assumed to have jumped to his death from a seventh-floor window of the Jameson Hotel in Harare.
But prosecutors now say Masaraure “and his accomplices still at large” beat Issa to death in the street below in the early hours of June 2, 2016.
The National Prosecuting Authority alleges that Masaraure, Issa and friends were drinking alcohol at the Quill Club located at Ambassador Hotel, leaving at about 10.30PM on June 1 to go to Jameson Hotel where Masaraure had a room booked on the seventh floor.
The group allegedly continued drinking into the early hours of the next day “until a misunderstanding arose amongst them.”
“The accused (Masaraure) and his accomplices ganged up against Roy Issa and assaulted him on the head with unknown weapons along Park Street adjacent to Jameson Hotel. In order to conceal the offence, they misrepresented that Issa jumped off through the window which resulted in his death.”
The prosecution says a pathologist concluded that Issa died as a result of “brain damage, compound skull fracture and head trauma” before recommending that “police to investigate.” – ZimLive