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Civic group's intern released without charge
Patricia Mpofu, ZimOnline
September 26, 2007

HARARE - An intern with the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition pressure group who was arrested for distributing literature demanding free and fair elections next year has been released from police custody without charge.

Memory Kadau, a university student on attachment at Crisis, was arrested on Thursday while manning the group's stand at the Non Governmental Organisations (NGO) Expo that was held at the Harare Gardens last week.

Kadau was detained at Harare Central police station where she was interrogated during the night by state security agents who accused her of working for a "bogus organisation" bent on effecting regime change in Zimbabwe.

She was released on Friday after spending the night in filthy cells at the police station.

Sources within the civic group said Kadau was picked up at the Expo by plain-clothes police officers from the Law and Order section.

The police accused the civic group of abusing the name of the late Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA) chief General Josiah Magama Tongogara after it used his pre-independence speech on free and fair elections on the organisation's banner that was on display at the Expo.

The former ZANLA chief called for free and fair elections supervised by the international community in a seminal speech at the height of the liberation struggle in 1978.

Tongogara died in a car accident a year later on the eve of Zimbabwe's independence.

Kadau's lawyer, Charles Kwaramba, said his client was subjected to intensive interrogations while she was being detained at the police station.

"Police officers were threatening to beat her up if she failed to disclose where they could find the Crisis Coalition's leadership," said Kwaramba.

Police spokesperson Oliver Mandipaka could not be reached for comment on the matter.

Thousands of civic activists have been arrested over the past seven years for allegedly violating the country's tough security laws while others have been arraigned before the courts on flimsy charges.

The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party has often accused the Zimbabwean government of arresting and harassing its supporters in an attempt to intimidate and stop them from backing the opposition party.

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