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human rights activists arrested in Zimbabwe
December 08, 2011
said today it considers three Zimbabwean human rights activists
arrested this week to be "prisoners of conscience" and
called for their immediate and unconditional release.
The three, from
Monitoring Project Zimbabwe, which promotes freedom of expression
and responsible journalism, were arrested
on Monday in Gwanda, Matabeleland South Province and were awaiting
a judgement on their bail application, which is due on Friday. They
are being held at Gwanda Remand Prison.
"The detained activists
were arrested solely for their legitimate work advocating for media
reforms and freedom of expression in Zimbabwe," said Erwin
van der Borght, Amnesty International's Africa Programme Director.
"We consider them to be prisoners of conscience and are calling
for their immediate and unconditional release."
and Molly Chimhanda, employees of the Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe
(MMPZ), and a member of the organization, Gilbert Mabusa, were arrested
at Gwanda police station following a request by police that they
report at the station to answer questions in relation to a meeting
convened by the organization in November.
The three reported
at the police station in the company of their lawyer and were charged
with contravening the Public
Order and Security Act (POSA), for allegedly 'participating
in a gathering without seeking authority from the regulating authority'
and also for allegedly contravening the Criminal
Law (Codification and Reform) Act, by 'distributing material
that is likely to provoke a breach of peace'.
In Harare on Tuesday
6 December, the MMPZ Coordinator Andrew Moyse was picked up from
the organization's offices by four officers from the Law and
Order Section of the Zimbabwe Republic Police for allegedly possessing
material on Gukuruhundi - a 1980s government security operation
in parts of Matabeleland and Midlands provinces which resulted in
the killing and maiming of thousands of civilians by the security
forces. Police, who had a search warrant, also confiscated DVDs
from the organization's premises. Andrew Moyse was subject
to several hours of interrogation before being released without
and detention of Fadzai December, Molly Chimhanda and Gilbert Mabusa
and questioning of Andrew Moyse are symptomatic of systematic harassment
and intimidation of human rights defenders by the police and other
state security organizations which has continued under Zimbabwe's
of National Unity' said Erwin van der Borght.
must immediately call a halt to such harassment and respect the
rights of human rights defenders facilitating dialogue on key national
issues including media, security sector and legal reforms.'
said van der Borght.
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