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Treason charges against Munyaradzi Gwisai & others - Index of articles
activist Gwisai and 45 others languish in police custody as artists
freed on summons
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
February 21, 2011
Police in Harare, on Saturday 19 February 2011 arrested labour activist
Munyaradzi Gwisai and 45 other social and human rights activists
at a venue in Harare.
At the time
of the arrest the labour activist and other social and human rights
activists, who include Hopewell Gumbo were participating in an academic
At least 35
police officers suspected to be from the Criminal Investigation
Department (CID) Law and Order section and some members of the dreaded
Central Intelligence Organisation (CIOs) cast an indiscriminate
dragnet at the venue where the academic discussion was being held.
19 February 2011, efforts by lawyers to gain access to the detainees
were fruitless. Lawyers were totally denied access by senior police
officers and some unidentified men who without any explanation and
just cause ruthlessly and rudely chased away the lawyers at about
20:00 hours. Subsequent efforts to gain access to their clients
so as to ascertain the medical requirements of the 46 were also
met with resistance by the unidentified men in civilian clothes.
On Sunday 20
February 2011 fresh attempts by lawyers to gain access to their
clients were met with stiff resistance and verbal insults.
finally managed to gain access to their 46 clients for about two
hours they were advised upon interviewing some of the detainees
that at least seven of them had been tortured by the "unidentified
men" who during the said torture sessions were questioning
detainees about the meeting and the discussions.
since been advised that their clients could possibly be charged
with contravening section 22 (2) (a) (i) of the Criminal
Law (Codification and Reform) Act, that is attempting to overthrow
the government by unconstitutional means.
By Monday 21
February 2011, lawyers had not yet been granted access to the detainees
as they were advised that the police were still screening the detainees
to determine the nature of their participation in the meeting.
Rooftop artists who were arrested on Friday 18 February 2011 in
Centenary, Mashonaland Central Province were released on summons.
Their arrest and detention followed complaints filed by some ZANU
PF supporters after they staged a play entitled Rituals which focuses
on national healing and other related transitional justice issues.
were detained overnight at Centenary police station on Friday 18
February 2011 and transferred on Saturday 19 February 2011 to Bindura
Police Station. The police made an entry in the Detention Book that
they were being charged with violating Section 33 of the Criminal
Law (Codification and Reform) Act. The artists were never formally
charged by the police however. They were eventually released later
on Saturday without being formally charged and the police indicated
that they would proceed by way of summons.
the ZLHR fact
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