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Strikes and Protests 2007- Save Zimbabwe Campaign
orders access to 'hurt' Tsvangirai
Business Day (SA)
March 13, 2007
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HARARE - Zimbabwe's
high court yesterday ordered police to allow lawyers access to opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who was said to be "in bad shape"
after suffering head injuries while in police custody.
Police detained Tsvangirai and dozens of other opposition figures
on Sunday and killed a man while breaking up a prayer meeting organised
in defiance of a ban on political rallies. Rights groups alleged
Tsvangirai and other politicians were tortured.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed concern about
the detention, echoing international condemnation of the Zimbabwean
government over rights abuses.
A Tsvangirai lawyer said the high court ordered police late yesterday
to give them access to the head of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) and the other detainees.
"A provisional order was issued that we have access to our
clients, that they should be taken to hospital where necessary and
that they should be taken to court by 12pm tomorrow, failing which
they should be released," Alec Muchadehama said.
Under Zimbabwe's laws, police can detain suspects for up to
48 hours before bringing them to court.
Earlier, Tsvangirai lawyer Innocent Chagonda visited the MDC leader
and said he was in bad shape.
"He was swollen very badly. He was bandaged on the head. You
couldn't distinguish between the head and the face and he
could not see properly."
MDC vice-president Thokozani Khupe said the party wanted all detainees
freed immediately and pledged that the struggle against President
Robert Mugabe would continue.
"President Tsvangirai is battling for his life at Borrowdale
police station after he was brutally assaulted. He lost consciousness
three times following the attack," she said.
Political tensions, which have been brewing over the soaring cost
of living and Mugabe's controversial rule, erupted when riot
squads fought opposition youths in the capital on Sunday for the
second time in a month.
yesterday joined growing international condemnation of government-backed
violence in Zimbabwe.
"This is unfortunately another example of the increasingly
harsh treatment that those wishing to express opposition political
views face under President Robert Mugabe," said state department
spokesman Tom Casey.
"We are shocked by reports of injuries to a number of opposition
leaders and certainly call on the government of Zimbabwe to provide
all medical treatment necessary to any of these individuals and
release them as quickly as possible," he said.
The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) yesterday demanded
the immediate release of MDC leaders.
Cosatu had already pledged "solidarity action" in SA
in support of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions' plan
for a general strike on April 3 and 4.
"We warn the Mugabe government not to try to repeat the kind
of pre-emptive arrests used yesterday," Cosatu said.
Democratic Alliance leader Tony Leon called on President Thabo Mbeki
to urgently review government's approach to Zimbabwe.
"The arrest and detention of Tsvangirai should serve as a
final wake-up call to President Mbeki that he simply cannot afford
to continue with a business as usual approach to the growing crisis
in Zimbabwe," Leon said. With Dumisani Muleya
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