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June 09, 2023

Update: ABA CHR's Monitoring of the Trial against Obert Masaraure

ABA CHR has been observing the pre-trial proceedings in cases Zimbabwe v. Masaraure since August 2, 2022. Mr. Masaraure, the President of the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ), has been charged with murder and public incitement to violence.

The trial for the latter case was scheduled for May 29, which ABA CHR intended to observe.

However, on the date of the trial, when parties and the ABA CHR monitor appeared in the designated court room, they were informed that the presiding magistrate judge was not present, and the case will be postponed. Neither Mr. Masaraure nor his lawyers received any advance notice of the postponement and were given conflicting accounts as to the reasons for the judge’s absence. The trial was postponed to June 30, 2023.

We remain concerned that the delayed proceedings are intended to stifle Mr. Masaraure’s legitimate trade union activities and may violate his right to a timely trial. We therefore reiterate the call in our pre-trial observation report to drop the unsubstantiated charges against Mr. Masaraure and ensure his right (and that of other human rights defenders) to freedom of association and expression. 

Disclaimer: This report was prepared by staff of the American Bar Association Center for Human Rights and reflects their own views. It has not been reviewed or approved by the House of Delegates or the Board of Governors of the American Bar Association and, therefore, should not be construed as representing the policy of the American Bar Association as a whole. Further, nothing in this report should be considered as legal advice in a specific case. (ABA Policy and Procedures Handbook, Chapter 5, Part C)