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campaigner Betty Makoni and two Americans arrested
Violet Gonda, SW Radio Africa
August 22, 2007
The outspoken founder
of the Girl Child Network, Betty Makoni, and two America women were
arrested in Harare on Tuesday. The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
said Makoni is being accused of allegedly "smuggling in foreigners
to cover the country's crisis without accreditation." When
SW Radio Africa contacted the human rights campaigner late Wednesday
she said she was not allowed to speak as she was at the police station.
It was not clear why she was still being held.
It's reported that the
two Americans were filming a documentary on the Girl Child Network.
Betty Makoni is an internationally acclaimed Zimbabwean child rights
activist who has won awards for her innovative child abuse prevention
We could not get through
to the American Embassy in Harare for a comment on the arrest of
the two US nationals.
There were other arrests
earlier this week as the government continued its campaign against
perceived enemies. Several pastors were arrested while they were
praying in Chitungwiza this past weekend. Their lawyer James Tabora
said heavily armed police officers with teargas descended on the
venue where more than 45 Pastors from various denominations had
gathered. Several individuals were arrested and the rest of the
congregation was ordered to disperse. The arrested were accused
of convening a political meeting but the lawyer said the meeting
was strictly religious. Under Zimbabwe's notorious security laws
police are supposed to be notified of a political gathering.
The Pastors who were
arrested on Saturday were released the same day after paying fines
of Z$40 000 each. But there were more arrests on Monday night when
police hunted down some of the pastors from their homes. The lawyer
said they were finally released on Tuesday.
Meanwhile the Crisis
Coalition said Braeside police tortured in custody a popular businesswoman
Ms. Majangi aka Mai Fafi and her manager for "failing to adhere
to the state stipulated prices on alcohol." Mai Fafi, who owns
a bar in the Avondale area of Harare, was arrested and released
on Sunday but re-arrested on Monday. It's reported a police officer
dealing with the case was also arrested on bribery charges because
it was alleged the two's earlier release was un-procedural.
Thousands of business
owners have been arrested in recent weeks since the government embarked
on the price cut wars last month.
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