Obert Masaraure receives a fine and avoids jail

ARTUZ leader Ober Masaraure, who is also an activist, narrowly avoided jail after only being fined for his recent post on X, for which he was arrested.

Obert Masaraure, a leading figure in both trade unionism and pro-democracy activism, managed to avoid a prison sentence on Friday after Harare magistrate Feresi Chakanyuka fined him US$200. This ruling followed Masaraure’s conviction on Wednesday for obstruction of the course of justice.

Details of Obert Masaraure’s conviction

The president of the Amalgamated Union of Rural Teachers (ARTUZ), Obert Masaraure, was found guilty for a social media post on his X account (previously known as Twitter), in which he called for the release of a fellow union member.

Magistrate Chakanyuka sentenced the activist to a fine of US$200, with a stipulation of two months in prison if the fine is not paid. Additionally, another four-month sentence was suspended for five years, provided Masaraure did not commit a similar offense within that period.

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Background of the case

Obert Masaraure fined
Obert Masaraure fined and avoids prison-Image Source@X

Masaraure’s detention dates back to July 8, 2022. Since then, he has appeared frequently in court throughout the trial. The charges were linked to a post he made on social media, urging the release of Robson Chere, a fellow activist.

Chere had been arrested in connection with the mysterious death of Roy Issa, an ARTUZ member who died after falling from the seventh floor of a Harare hotel. Although an investigation ruled out foul play, police controversially reopened the case and brought murder charges against Masaraure and Chere.

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Prosecution and reaction

Prosecutors presented evidence showing that Masaraure authored a statement on both his X account and the ARTUZ website. This statement was allegedly intended to prejudice the pending trial against him and Chere while also inciting teachers union members and the public to violence.

The conviction has provoked the indignation of ARTUZ, who has described it as a serious judicial error.

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