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  • Strikes and Protests 2007- Save Zimbabwe Campaign

  • Assaulted journalists and political leaders referred to hospital
    Misa Zimbabwe
    March 13, 2007

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    Journalists Tsvangirai Mukwazhi and Tendai Musiyu who freelance for Associated Press (AP) finally appeared in court on 13 March 2007 together with opposition leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Authur Mutambara following the arrest and detention of several human rights activists on 11 March 2007.

    They were all refered to hospital for treatment after they complained that they had been severely assaulted by the police following their arrest. National Constitutional Assembly chairman Dr Lovemore Madhuku spotted a head bandage while his left arm was in a sling when they were all remanded in custody for treatment at the Avenues Clinic.

    Mukwazhi, a freelance photojournalist and Musiyu, who is a freelance film producer, were arrested together with Tsvangirai, Madhuku, MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti, Authur Mutambara leader of the other MDC faction, legislator Job Sikhala and Grace Kwinje and Nelson Chamisa of the Tsvangirai faction. Madhuku is reported to have fractured an arm following the severe assaults by the police.

    Their appearance in court followed a High Court ruling on 12 March 2007 ordering the police to allow lawyers representing the journalists, opposition leaders and human rights activists access to their clients.

    Mukwazhi's whereabouts had remained unknown until his appearance in court following his arrest on 11 March 2007 at Machipisa shopping complex when police disrupted a national prayer meeting that had been scheduled for Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfield under the auspices of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign.

    Justice Chinembiri Bhunu made the ruling following an urgent application filed by Advocate Erick Matinenga representing the detained journalists; political leaders and human rights activists after the police denied their lawyers access to their clients.

    Justice Bhunu also ordered that medical practitioners be allowed access to the injured activists after the state conceded in its submission that they had been assaulted by the police. He further ruled that if the police defy that order, the police should produce all the detainees at the High Court at 8am on 13 March 2007.

    The High Court also ordered that all detainees be brought before the Magistrates Court by 12 Noon on 13 March 2007 failing which they should all be released.

    Gift Tandare, an MDC activist, was shot and killed in Highfield on 11 March 2007 when police cordoned off Zimbabwe Grounds, venue of the planned national day of prayer. MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai was arrested and severely assaulted by police who are detaining him at Borrowdale Police Station.

    In a blatant violation of the fundamental rights of freedom of expression, assembly and association on 21 February 2007 the government imposed a three-month ban on demonstrations and political rallies in Harare.

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