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Strikes and Protests 2007- Save Zimbabwe Campaign
arrests, harassment of MDC officials and human rights defenders
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
March 16, 2007
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Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights condemns the continued indiscriminate
arrest and harassment of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) officials
and members throughout the country. A country wide synopsis indicates
a well laid plan to besiege the offices, homes and lives of MDC
officials and activists.
people including Sipepa Nkomo and Agnes Maloyi of the Tsvangirayi
lead MDC were arrested on Wednesday 15 March at the opposition party
offices. Six of them were charged on Thursday 15 March for failing
to notify the police about plans to organise a demonstration. The
activists are yet to be formally charged and still detained at Bulawayo
Central Police. ZLHR member lawyers, Simbarashe Chivaura and Shepherd
Chamunorwa are attending to the activists. Police in Bulawayo are
operating under a mistaken fact and law that demonstrations are
illegal and that bans instituted by in others towns are of full
effect and force in Bulawayo.
people were arrested on Monday 12 March following demonstrations
by MDC activists who marched in support of those detained after
the police disrupted and barred the holding of a prayer meeting
under the Save Zimbabwe Campaign at the Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfields.
Sixteen of those arrested in Mutare were released on Monday 12 March
after paying $500 fines for embarking on "conduct likely to
cause a breach of peace" as a way of buying their freedom.
The 16 were mainly ordinary persons going on their daily business.
Sixty others appeared in before a magistrate, for contravening Section
37 of the Criminal
Law and Codification Act for "participating in a gathering
with the intention of causing public disorder". The 60 were
released on bail after paying $20 000 bail each and remanded to
30 March 2007 at which hearing ZLHR lawyers intend to contest the
further remanding of the activists.
students were arrested the University
of Zimbabwe (UZ) campus on Tuesday 13 March at 0900hours and
detained the Avondale Police Station. The four, Zimbabwe
National Students Union (ZINASU) President, Promise Mkhwananzi
and suspended UZ Student Representative Council president, Tinei
Mukwewa, ZINASU secretary general, Beloved Chiweshe and one Kelvin
were picked up on the basis of "being security threats to the
nation." They were later released at 1400hours.
student leaders and two Crisis
in Zimbabwe Coalition secretariat members were arrested at Rotten
Row Magistrates Courts on Tuesday 13 March for standing in solidarity
with the detained Save Zimbabwe Campaign leaders were released on
Wednesday 14 March. The five, Washington Katema, Zimbabwe National
Student’s Union (ZINASU) coordinator, Promise Mkwananzi, ZINASU
president, Tellington Kwashira, Emily Nkhungwa and Roderick Chirowodza
were charged under the Public
Order and Security Act for being criminal nuisances and made
to pay a $250 fine, which ZLHR intends to contest at the confirmation
proceedings at the Magistrate’s Court.
ZLHR lawyers have been informed that the Zimbabwe Republic Police
is drafting the 242 form to request for remand for the 50 people
arrested during the Save Zimbabwe Campaign prayer meeting, including
the brutally beaten leaders of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign. Superintendent
Tavaziva Officer Commanding CID Law and Order Harare and Officer
in Charge Machipisa Police Station are refusing to release the vehicles
belonging to Morgan Tsvangirayi, Nelson Chamisa and Dr Lovemore
Madhuku under the guise of conducting investigations. Letters have
been written contemplating legal action in the few hours if the
vehicles are not delivered into the custody of their rightful and
One of the activists
arrested and brutally beaten on Sunday 11 March was rearrested.
Susan Matsunga of Mufakose who was discharged yesterday from
hospital was re-arrested on the afternoon of Friday 16 March. Susan,
still in bandages, was together with relatives who had visited her
taken and detained at Marimba Police Station.
MDC officials were arrested in separate incidents for allegedly
organising a demonstration. The 12 who included MDC National Youth
Treasurer, Angeline Pechu, Provincial chairman, Lazarus Chacha and
former councillor, Settlement Chikwinya were arrested around 1100hours
and released at 1900hours. Pechu and Chacha were picked up at a
restaurant while having breakfast while Chikwinya was arrested at
a bank. They were released without charge.
people were arrested in Gweru on Tuesday 13 March 2007 following
the demonstrations in solidarity with the arrested and brutally
beaten leadership of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign. Edward Fika, Erasmus
Tonga, James Tsuro, Emmanuel Gwerekwete and Trust Chineni were arrested
at their homes on Tuesday 13 March on allegations of petrol bombing
the Nehanda Police Station. The five were detained at Gweru Central
police Station and appeared in court on Friday 16 March where they
were charged under Section 23 (1) (a) (ii) of the Criminal Law and
Codification Act for "insurgence, banditry, sabotage and terrorism."
They were granted a $100 000 bail, ordered to report at Gweru Central
Police Station CID offices on Mondays and Fridays, to continue reside
at given addresses, and remanded to 30 March 2007. ZLHR lawyers
intend to make an application for refusal of remand as there is
no evidence against the activists. Two of the accused are Bata employees
who were on duty at work till 10 pm, an hour after the incident
is said to have happened. Police at Gweru Central had released the
five on Thursday 15 March in light of this evidence exonerating
the five but made an about turn on instructions of their superior.
The five had been actually released but the police rearrested them
which is blatantly unlawful.
who had been accused along with four other MDC members Gweru MP,
Amos Chibaya, Tambirai Rutswara, and Tendai Munhamo of participating
in an illegal demonstration appeared in court on Friday 16 March.
His appearance was delayed by a day because he had suffered a broken
rib after being assaulted by police at the Gweru central Police
Station. Chimbwanda was hospitalised at the Gweru Central Hospital
for two days from Wednesday 14 March after the assault. The prosecutor
has undertaken to investigate the matter and bring to book the perpetrators.
Chimbwanda was granted a $10 000 bail and remanded to 27 April,
Gweru MP, Amos Chibaya, Tambirai Rutswara, Tendai Munhamo appeared
in court on Thursday 15 March and charged under Section 37(1)a of
the Criminal Law and Codification Act for participating in a gathering
with the intention to promote public violence. The accused had conducted
a demonstration in solidarity with the fifty arrested during the
Save Zimbabwe Campaign prayer meeting held at Zimbabwe Grounds in
Highfield. They were granted a $10 000 bail and have been remanded
to 27 April, 2007.
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