AbM: All Charges Dropped Against the Pemary Ridge 13

16 11 2009

16 November 2009

Abahlali baseMjondolo was unable to secure a lawyer to represent the Pemary Ridge 13 in the Pinetown Magistrate’s Court this morning. They were represented by Shamita Naidoo, Chairperson of the Motala Heights Abahlali baseMjondolo branch. She made a vigorous argument against police brutality against shack dwellers in general, and the Pemary Ridge settlement in particular, and showed how the police claim to be victims of the people they brutally and unlawfully assaulted to be entirely ludicrious.

All charges were dropped against the 13.
The police always make their arrests on Fridays or on public holidays as it is difficult to get a lawyer at these times and people can be held (and somtimes assaulted in detention) until the courts reopen. The police are systematically abusing their powers to arrest and detain people as a form of intimidation. They routinely arrest and detain people when they know very well that they have no evidence against them will not be able to go to trial.

The Pemary Ridge community are planning various strategies to hold the police accountable for this attack and to prevent future attacks. The media are encouraged to seriously investigate the systemic unlawful and violent abuse of the poor in general and grassroots activists in particular at the hands of the police.

For more information contact:

Philani Zungu, Chairperson of the Pemary Ridge Abahlali baseMjondolo Branch: 072 962 9312
Shamita Naidoo, Chairperson of the Motala Heights Abahlali baseMjondolo Branch: 074 315 7962

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