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members arrested in Masvingo - playing netball - alert and
of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)
August 07, 2007
19 members of Women and
Men of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA/MOZA) were arrested in Masvingo this
afternoon whilst playing netball. They are currently being held
in Masvingo Central Police Station.
Whilst the group was
engaged in their game at Macheke Stadium this afternoon, two members
of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) approached them
and questioned one of the members. They then took him away. Shortly
afterwards they came back and arrested the rest of the group. It
is not clear for what reason.
Whilst over 300 members
demonstrated in Mutare yesterday without incident, there have been
no recent protests in Masvingo.
Lawyers have been informed
and more information will be given as it becomes available.
Please call Masvingo
Central Police Station on +263 39 62221 to demand the immediate
release of the 19 and that police stop the harassment of human rights
Wednesday 8th August - 11am
members spend night in custody in Masvingo It has been confirmed
that seven women and nine men spent the night in police custody
in Masvingo last night after being arrested yesterday whilst playing
mixed soccer and netball at Macheke Stadium. Also in custody is
the soccer ball, although the netball evaded arrest.
It is still not clear
why the group was arrested or what charges, if any, will be brought
against them. The lawyer is in attendance and is currently trying
to meet with police to obtain this information.
More news will be sent
as soon as it becomes available.
Please continue to ring
Masvingo Central Police Station on +263 39 62221 to demand their
immediate release, without charge, and that police stop the harassment
of human rights defenders in Zimbabwe.
Wednesday 8th August - 3pm
members arrested in Masvingo likely to spend another night in custody
The 16 WOZA members arrested yesterday whilst playing sports will
probably spend another night in custody tonight, as they have still
not been charged. It is hoped that they will be released tomorrow
It is still not clear
why they were arrested in the first place although it is obvious
that it is part of the ongoing campaign of police harassment of
human rights defenders in the country.
Police attempted to force
the group to pay admission of guilt fines this morning - although
they have committed no crime!
It is bitterly cold in
Masvingo at present and as the group was playing sports at the time,
many are not wearing warm clothing. Police have not allowed extra
clothing to be brought in to those in custody. Their lawyer has
been allowed to see his clients however and they report no other
forms of ill treatment.
calling Masvingo Central Police Station on +263 39 62221 to protest
the continued detention of these innocent citizens.
Thursday 9th August - 10.30am
remain in custody - have been beaten The 16 members arrested
in Masvingo on Tuesday remain in custody at Masvingo Central Police
Station. They still have not been charged. There is deep concern
for their well being as members taking food to them last night reported
that police had beaten them, one by one, yesterday afternoon. The
extent of their injuries is not clear.
Police are apparently
still trying to force them to pay admission of guilt fines although
they have committed no crime and have not been charged with anything.
Lawyers are now considering
filing an urgent high court application for their immediate release
as police are apparently refusing to take them to court today and
the 48-hours that they are allowed to be held will soon be up.
calling Masvingo Central Police Station on
+263 39 62221 to demand the immediate release of the group and that
police stop beating innocent citizens.
9th August - 7pm
The 16 members,
six women and nine men, arrested on Tuesday afternoon for playing
netball and football were all finally released this afternoon. Police
harassment of WOZA continued however as two other members, Winnie
Sadeya and Eurita Singemde, were arrested at lunchtime whilst taking
in food to the group. The two women are still in custody tonight.
Six members, who had
been tortured and were in a lot of pain, paid admission of guilt
fines and were released earlier today. Three of these members received
medical attention; two for beatings on the soles of their feet and
the third potentially has a broken hand from beaten with a baton
of the release of the remaining ten were not clear as the support
team awaiting their release had to leave town after being chased
by Law and Order officers. The lawyer had indicated that when was
leaving the station, the group had been instructed to remain behind
to await a lecture by Dispol (the district police authority) about
their behaviour. It seems that the authorities in Masvingo are extremely
ratted by social netball and football - sports fans beware!
Friday 10th August - 8pm
The two members
arrested yesterday lunchtime whilst taking food into Masvingo Central
Police Station to their comrades are still in custody tonight. Whilst
police had assured the lawyer that they would be released early
this evening, they have not done so. It is now clear that the two
women will spend another night in custody.
Saturday 11th August - 12pm
The two members
arrested on Thursday whilst taking food into Masvingo Central Police
Station have finally been released. They were not charged. Police
had promised the lawyer that they would be released last night and
then first thing this morning. They were finally released at noon.
The entire group
of 18 members in total therefore spent two nights in custody for
absolutely no reason than the repressive Zimbabwean regime appears
to be terrified of its own citizens. Arbitrary arrest, beatings
and torture are standard experiences of human rights defenders in
Zimbabwe, yet WOZA remains determined to continue with our nonviolent
campaign for the social justice outlined in our People's
Let me not pray
to be sheltered from dangers, but to be fearless in facing them.
Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain, but for the heart to
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