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This article participates on the following special index pages:
Index of articles on enforced disappearances in Zimbabwe
must guarantee the safety of Jestina Mukoko
authorities must immediately disclose the whereabouts of human rights
activist Jestina Mukoko, who was abducted from her home at dawn
today by a group of armed plain-clothes men who identified themselves
as policemen, Amnesty International said today.
"The abduction or
arrest of Jestina Mukoko is part of an established pattern of harassment
and intimidation of human rights defenders by Zimbabwean authorities
in an attempt to discourage them from documenting and publicising
the violations that are taking place," said Erwin van der Borght,
Amnesty International's Africa programme director.
is the director of the Zimbabwe
Peace Project (ZPP), a local human rights organisation that
is involved in monitoring and documenting human rights violations
in Zimbabwe. Today, at around 5am local time, a group of at least
12 men stormed her home in Norton, South of the capital, Harare,
and took her by force while still barefoot and dressed in pyjamas.
An eyewitness told Amnesty International that the men then drove
off in two cars, one of which did not have registration plates.
On Saturday 29 November,
about six men, believed to be part of the same group, tried to enter
her house during her absence after claiming to be workmates, according
to the same eyewitness.
ZPP produces periodic
reports on the human rights situation in the country, compiled through
a network of community based human rights defenders.
"We hold the Zimbabwean
authorities responsible for anything that may happen to Jestina
Mukoko. She should be released immediately and while in detention
the authorities should guarantee her safety and ensure that she
has access to a lawyer and family, as well as food, warm clothes
and medication," said Erwin van der Borght.
has also received information that several trade unionists, including
the Secretary General of the Progressive
Teachers Union of Zimbabwe Mr Raymond Majongwe and a journalist
working for a South African broadcaster, have been arrested in Harare
today. Amnesty International fears that the authorities may have
launched a new campaign to silence human rights activists in the
wake of today's protest action by the Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions.
27 November three members of staff of the ZPP were arrested by police
in Budiriro (a low income suburb of Harare) at a clinic offering
treatment to cholera victims. Police initially threatened to charge
them under the Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Official
Secrets Act. They were later charged with criminal nuisance
and made to pay a fine of Z$20 and released on Saturday 29 November.
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