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arrest ZimRights employees over torture as Magistrate frees WOZA
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
May 23, 2011
Police on Monday
23 May 2011 arrested two Zimbabwe
Human Rights Association (ZimRights) employees for allegedly
convening a workshop to conscientise villagers about torture and
its effects in Tsholotsho, Matabeleland North province.
and arrested Florence Ndlovu, the ZimRights regional coordinator
for Matabeleland province and Walter Dube, the organisation's
paralegal officer for Matabeleland, Midlands and Masvingo provinces
who were coming from Tshino Business Centre in Tsholotsho District,
where the police had earlier on disrupted a torture workshop which
was scheduled to be held on Monday 23 May 2011.
The police detained
the two ZimRights employees at Nyamandlovu Police Station and denied
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) member lawyers Charles
Moyo of Moyo and Nyoni Legal Practitioners and Jonathan Tsvangirai
of Danziger and Partners Legal Practitioners access to their clients
after mounting a rapid response to their arrest. The police denied
detaining Ndlovu and Dube and claimed that the two ZimRights employees
had been taken to Sipepa Business Centre despite evidence of their
detention through the presence of their vehicle which was parked
at the police station.
By Monday night,
the lawyers were working on filing a habeas corpus petition to challenge
the detention of the two ZimRights employees.
The police action
in disrupting the ZimRights workshop is in defiance of a court order
which was issued on Friday 20 May by Bulawayo Magistrate Ntombizodwa
Mazhandu who interdicted some law enforcement agents from prohibiting
the organisation from conducting the torture workshop in Matabeleland
forced to engage the services of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
(ZLHR) after the Officer Commanding Tsholotsho District in Matabeleland
North banned the grassroots human rights organisation from holding
the workshop after claiming that "the subject of torture is
not in line with Zimbabwean culture".
interdicted the police from disturbing or interfering in any way
with the ZimRights workshop and ordered the rights organisation
to proceed with the workshop as scheduled and promote its right
to freedom of association and assembly as set out in Section 21
of the constitution and the right to freedom of expression as guaranteed
under Section 20 of the Constitution.
Magistrate Gideon Ruwetsa on Monday 23 May 2011 granted bail to
six members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) who were arrested
last week and charged with malicious damage to property.
The six WOZA
members namely Teresia Phiri, Janet Dube, Juliet Nyathi, Thobekile
Ncube, Sibekezele Nkomo, and Loyce Ndlovu were charged with contravening
Section 140 of Criminal
Law (Codification and Reform Act) Chapter 9:23, for malicious
damage to property.
for Human Rights (ZLHR) member lawyers Kossan Ncube of Kossam Ncube
and Partners and Godfrey Nyoni of Moyo and Nyoni Legal Practitioners
represented the WOZA members.
The six WOZA
members were ordered to pay $100 bail and to report once a fortnight
to the police. They were also ordered to surrender their travel
documents and to continue residing at their given residential addresses
and not to interfere with State witnesses.
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