Back to Index
rights body appeals to Mugabe
McLachlan, Business Day (SA)
March 22, 2007
THE African Commission on Human and Peoples'
Rights has called on Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to uphold
the law and "desist from wanton arrest and torture of journalists".
This came after a complaint from the
of Southern Africa that two journalists, Tsvangirai Mukwazhi
and Tendai Musiyu, were "severely assaulted by the police" after
their arrest while covering the heated protests which saw opposition
Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai arrested
"Of great concern was that Mukwazhi's
whereabouts remained unknown until his appearance in court on March
13 as the police withheld information about his whereabouts to his
lawyers, who were denied access to the detained journalists," the
complaint said. "The two journalists were subsequently taken to
hospital for treatment following the assaults."
Rapporteur on freedom of expression at
the commission, Pansy Tlakula, sent an urgent
letter of appeal to Mugabe regarding the deteriorating situation
of freedom of expression in Zimbabwe. "I actually met Tsvangirai
Mukwazhi during my visit and I saw with my own eyes the serious
injuries he sustained on his back during the beating by the police.
His car, equipment and laptop were also confiscated," she said.
To date, the two journalists have not
been formally charged despite having spent 48 hours in police custody.
She called on Mugabe to "respect the
rights enshrined in the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights",
to which Zimbabwe is a party state. Attacks on media in Africa prompted
the commission to pass a resolution on freedom of expression in
November against such acts.
She said that cases in point included
Gambia, Zimbabwe and Eritrea.
On Tuesday, the head of the Catholic
church in Zimbabwe, Archbishop Pius Ncube, criticised the South
African government for failing to rein in Mugabe.
"They are in the best position to put
pressure on Zimbabwe, to call for sanctions, if necessary. They
could force Mugabe to change but they have been watching this thing.
It's now the eighth year it has been deteriorating," he said.
Please credit www.kubatana.net if you make use of material from this website.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.