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authorities launch fresh onslaught against Chikomo
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
have launched a fresh onslaught against Abel Chikomo, the executive
director of the Zimbabwe
Human Rights NGO Forum by summonsing him to stand trial on charges
of running an "unregistered" organisation in yet another
official harassment of civic organisations and human rights defenders.
Chikomo was recently
served with summons by two police officers only identified as Detective
Gandidzanwa and Chipwanya to stand trial on 01 August 2013 at Harare
(Rottenrow) Magistrates Court.
the summons, Chikomo contravened Section 6 (3) of the Private
Voluntary Organisation (PVO) Act Chapter 17:15 after he allegedly
conducted some activities without being registered under the PVO
The charge, which he
denies, came after the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, a non-governmental
umbrella organization conducted a survey on transitional justice
in Harare’s Highfield suburb.
The State says this was
illegal since the organisation is not registered as a Private Voluntary
Organisation (PVO). The State claims that he unlawfully instructed
two of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum’s employees to
commence or carry out a survey in Harare’s Highfield suburb
with the intention to obtain people's recommendations on the preferred
transitional justice mechanism for Zimbabwe, without his organization
registering with the Social Welfare Department under the PVO Act.
Last year, Chikomo’s
trial on the same charges, which first arose in February 2011, was
shelved after State prosecutor Innocent Chingarande withdrew summons
issued against him as the State was not ready to proceed with the
matter. At that time Chikomo was represented by Zimbabwe Lawyers
for Human Rights board member Selby Hwacha and Jeremiah Bamu.
Over the past two years
Chikomo has been interrogated and asked to report to the police
station on several occasions on the activities carried out by the
Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum.
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