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human rights defenders project - Alert No. 2
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
September 19, 2007
The Rapid Reaction Unit
(RRU) of the National Human Rights Defenders Project continues to
remain on high alert as the stay away enters its first day. Further
incidents of abduction and detention have been reported. They are
detailed below, together with further updates of previously reported
In Gweru, Isaac
Teveteve, the Gweru Branch Secretary of the ZCTU,
who was detained on 18 September 2007, remains in custody and ZLHR
continues to pursue efforts to secure his release.
In Bulawayo the two ZCTU secretariat members, Mr Reason Ngwenya
and Mr Ambrose Sibindi, who were detained, were released without
charge late last night.
of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) member, Magodonga Mahlangu, was detained
at Bulawayo Central police station and remains in custody. ZLHR
member, Mr Kossam Ncube, continues to handle the case.
In Masvingo, on 13 and
14 September 2007, three ZCTU members, Elliot Muposhi, Willmore
Makure, and Tafara Tawengahama were arrested on two separate occasions
and taken to Masvingo police station where they were interrogated
by police officers from the CID Law and Order section and members
of the Central Intelligence Organisation, concerning the planned
ZCTU stay away and for addressing some workers on the planned stay
away. After the interrogation which lasted three hours the three
were released but threatened against going ahead with the stay away.
In Harare, on Monday
17 September, around 1400hrs, three ZCTU members, namely Michael
Kandukutu, Tenson Muchefa, and Justice Mucheni, were arrested in
the Workington area while trying to distribute fliers for the stay
away. A member of the general public, Mr. Martin Chinhamo, was also
arrested for picking up one of the fliers. In the process of these
arrests the ZCTU members were assaulted by the arresting police
officers before being taken to Mbare police station where they were
further assaulted before being transferred to Harare Central police
station at around 1600hrs.
The ZLHR RRU
deployed three lawyers to represent the accused persons. ZLHR lawyer,
Dzimbabwe Chimbga, initially managed to speak to one of the ZCTU
members who informed him of their arrest and assault before he was
threatened and whisked away and denied further access to the arrested
persons. All three lawyers were denied access to the arrested persons
by the Investigating Officer, one Inspector Shereni. The ZCTU members,
who refused to pay admission of guilt fines which the police were
insisting they should pay, opting instead to be taken to court as
they had committed no criminal offence. Police are considering charges
of criminal nuisance under Section 46 of the Criminal
Law (Codification & Reform) Act.
An urgent application
was filed in the High Court on the evening of 18 September 2007
seeking that lawyers have access to the detained persons and that
they be taken to court immediately. The matter is set to be heard
before Justice Musakwa but no time for the hearing has been provided
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