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Official: Zimbabwean justice system broken

HARARE, Zimbabwe, March 6 (UPI) -- John Masimba, the provincial magistrate for Zimbabwe's Matabeleland North province, says his country's justice system is filled with illegally held prisoners.

Masimba said under the current Justice Ministry system, nearly 7,000 suspects in Bulawayo and Matabeleland are being held in remand prisons illegally since prison officials have not taken the prisoners to court, The New Zimbabwean said Friday.

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"Once someone is remanded in custody, they are just as good as forgotten because their chances of being brought back to court are nil," Masimba said.

Masimba called on President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to rework the troubled legal system through the country's new power-sharing government.

"The failure by prison authorities to bring remand prisoners to court remains our biggest challenge. The backlog in criminal cases keeps on growing because nothing is being done as far as trials are concerned. It is our hope that the Ministry will prioritize transport if the justice delivery system is to be more effective," the Matabeleland North official told the New Zimbabwean.

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