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MDC launches campaign to free detainees
Violet Gonda, SW Radio Africa
May 21, 2007

The opposition launched a campaign last week to force the authorities to release the 32 political prisoners who have been in custody for two months now. The MDC said the campaign, which will include appeals to neighboring countries to put pressure on the regime, is also an appeal to well wishers to donate towards helping the victims and their families. The crusade dubbed "FREE THEM NOW" is also demanding an end to the terror campaign.

Hundreds of opposition and civic activists have been tortured, abducted or arrested since the fatal March 11 disturbances. 32 political prisoners have been in custody for the last two months on terrorist charges, which the MDC and rights groups say are flimsy charges aimed at crippling the opposition movement.

Lawyers have been battling to have the detainees released on bail in the High Court but are meeting stiff resistance from the state. Many of those in custody, including Ian Makone - Morgan Tsvangirai's presidential aide and Paul Madzore, the Member of Parliament for Glen View, were seriously tortured in custody.

An MDC statement that included a poster with the names of the detainees said: "We demand that all the political prisoners be SET FREE NOW. We appeal to well wishers to lend us a hand in this troubling time as we are facing challenges to cater for the welfare of the political prisoners and their families."

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