|Stephane Tchakam, Charge de Communication Pan Africa ILGA|
The trial of Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ) employee Ellen Chademana has commenced at the Harare Magistrates court on 12 November 2010.
Chademana is facing charges of allegedly possessing pornographic pictures thereby contravening section 26(1) of the Censorship and Entertainment Control Act (Chapter10:04). This follows the state’s refusal to grant an application for discharge, which had earlier been filed by Chademana’s lawyers.
The case began with a cross examination by Chademana’s defense Lawyer Jeremiah Bamu. Chademana took the witness stand and gave an account of what transpired on the day, when she, together with a colleague were arrested during an office raid on May 21 2010.
She told the court how the search began in her absence and was only called in by the police who said they only needed her to assist them with information.
“To my surprise when I got to the office soon as I got off my car I was ordered to switch off my cellphone, and I was whisked into the offices. Everything was in a mess indicating that there had been a search earlier on. I was notified by the police that during the search which had been conducted in my absence, the police had found on my work station a file written Gender Minutes 2006 and 2007 which allegedly contained a pornographic picture.”
She also narrated how she was not in possession of the alleged folder and was not aware of its contents and maintained that she has never seen this folder before.
Meanwhile the trial will re-commence on the 16th of November with Chademana’s re-examination by the state prosecutor Rufaro Mhandu . Harare Magistrate Don Ndirowei is presiding over the matter.
Charges leveled against Chademana arose when police, armed with a search warrant , ransacked GALZ offices alleging that the organisation was in possession of dangerous drugs and pornographic material.