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Leading activist detained in ongoing crackdown on dissent
January 16, 2013
A leading human
rights activist in Zimbabwe was denied bail today following his
arrest earlier this week as part of what Amnesty International said
is an ongoing crackdown on freedom of expression in the country
ahead of this year's presidential, parliamentary and local government
who was remanded in custody until 30 January, is the director of
Human Rights Association (ZimRights). He was arrested
on Monday in the capital city Harare and charged with publishing
falsehoods, fraud and forgery after allegedly conducting illegal
official, Leo Chamahwinya, was arrested
on 13 December 2012, and remains
in detention. He faces the same charges.
appears to have the hallmarks of politically motivated prosecutions
calculated to instill fear among human rights defenders as the country
prepares for elections some time in the year," said Noel Kututwa,
Amnesty International's southern Africa director.
human rights workers and NGO staff have been harassed, intimidated
and arbitrarily detained by police as part of the ongoing crackdown
on freedom of expression in the country ahead of the elections.
must act to halt such rights abuses and release all those detained
as part of this crackdown. These cases cast doubt on whether the
country is ready to hold a violence free election."
officials are charged with contravening Section 31, 136 and 137
of the Criminal
Law (Codification and Reform) Act for allegedly attempting to
defraud the Registrar General's Office by forging and manufacturing
counterfeit copies of voter registration.
arrested and detained
as part of the crackdown include Fidelis Mudimu, Zachariah Godi
and Tafadzwa Geza, senior staff members of the Counselling
Services Unit (CSU) a registered medical clinic treating victims
of organized violence and torture.
All three were
arbitrarily arrested after police raided their offices in Harare
in November 2012. They were unlawfully detained and illegally transferred
from Harare and Bulawayo.
They were released
after four days in custody and charged with "causing malicious
damage to property". The charges against Fidelis Mudimu were
later dropped for lack of evidence as he was out of the country
at the time the crimes were allegedly committed.
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