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  • Strikes and Protests 2007- Save Zimbabwe Campaign

  • Journalist's lawyers barred from entering police station
    March 23, 2007

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    Lawyers representing freelance photojournalist Tsvangirai Mukwazhi were on 22 March 2007 barred from entering Machipisa Police station in Harare’s suburb of Highfield to secure the release of equipment and a vehicle that the police impounded from the journalist almost two weeks ago.

    MISA-Zimbabwe’s Legal Officer Wilbert Mandinde who was accompanied by a lawyer from the Law Society of Zimbabwe said they were refused entry into the police station by armed police officers despite stating the purpose of their visit and enquiries.

    "We were not even given the chance to explain the reason for our visit by the two heavily armed police officers who were manning the entrance to the police station who told us to lodge our complaint with the Law and Order Maintenance Section at Harare Central Police Station in the city center," said Mandinde.

    "We are now filing for an urgent High Court order to secure the release of the vehicle and equipment."

    The police impounded the vehicle, a Mitsubishi Pajero, laptop computer and a digital camera on 11 March 2007 when they arrested Mukwazhi together with leaders of opposition parties and civic society organisations in Highfield ahead of a planned national day of prayer organised under the auspices of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign that had been scheduled for Zimbabwe Grounds in the same suburb.

    Pansy Tlakula, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights’ Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression who met Mukwazhi in Harare on 16 March 2007, has since written to President Robert Mugabe protesting the arrest and assault of the two journalists.

    The ACHPR’s Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression personally inspected the the serious injuries sustained by Mukwazhi on his back following the assaults while in police custody.


    Mukwazhi and Tendai Musiyazviriyo, a film producer who both freelance for Associated Press, were arrested on the same day with opposition MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti, Authur Mutambara leader of the other MDC faction, legislator Job Sikhala, Dr Lovemore Madhuku, the chairperson of the National Constitutional Assembly and Grace Kwinje, William Bango and Nelson Chamisa of the Tsvangirai faction.

    They were admitted to hospital for treatment following the severe assaults by the police following their arrests and subsequent release without charges.

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