MDC Alliance activist freed on bail following airport arrest for ‘entering restricted area’

Netsai Marova
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HARARE – MDC Alliance activist Netsai Marova was released on bail Monday following her arrest on Sunday night accused of entering a restricted area at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport.

The 26-year-old was ordered to deposit Z$4,000 bail and to return to court on July 7 by Harare magistrate Dennis Mangosi.

Marova – who has been arrested on several occasions in what the MDC Alliance says is political persecution – was at the airport to pick up his brother who was on a FastJet flight from Johannesburg.

The pair is mourning their father who died on Saturday.

The prosecution alleges that when Marova got to the airport at 10PM, he was advised that his brother had been pulled aside to retake a Covid-19 test.

Insisting that she wanted to see her brother, she allegedly used a door marked “No Entry” to enter the Arrivals hall where she was arrested.

The National Prosecuting Authority says she “unlawfully and intentionally entered a restricted area through the departures door and ‘No Entry’ door of the Arrivals hall knowing that such entry was restricted.”

Marova was not asked to plead to a charge of breaching section 109(a) of the Civil Aviation (Security) Regulations 2019 which prohibits “entering a restricted area without the permission of the authority.”

Marova has been a regular at court facing a string of charges. She was abducted by state security agents and tortured for two days in May last year, but police arrested her and fellow activists Joana Mamombe and Cecilia Chimbiri accusing them of faking their abduction.

Marova has subsequently been arrested on public order offences and alleged breaches of Covid-19 lockdown regulations, charges which she denies.