Thursday, March 10, 2011


The campaign around the Zimbabwe activists has borne some results.
The good news is that yesterday 39 of the 45 activists had their
charges dropped by the Magistrate court. The Magistrate judge
(Mutevedzi) said the arrest of the 45 people was “a dragnet arrest by
the police who didn’t verify or attach criminal conduct to each of the
accused persons”.
The judge also stated that there “glaring weaknesses”
in the State case and that it wasn’t “clear what the rest of the
accused persons did to deserve to be arrested and charged with
treason”.   But the remaining 6 are still being detained. They are:
-Gender activist Antonater Choto -Zimbabwe National Students Union
(ZINASU) leaders Welcome Zimuto and Eddson Chakuma -Labour activist
Tatenda Mombeyarara -International Socialist Organisation co-ordinator
and labour lawyer Munyaradzi Gwisai -Anti-Debt Campaigner Hopewell
Gumbo   The legal rights of the six are already being violated and they
are being severely punished before the court has ruled guilt or not.
The men have been placed in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day and
are allowed out in two 30 minute sessions a day. The women are being
subjected to hard labour. Even the state prosecutor conceded that
solitary confinement and hard labour were a serious violation of the
activists’ rights (but denied the allegations).     But the state
itself is showing signs of the campaign’s pressure. The magistrate has
said of the remaining 6 that the discussion by Gwisai, Choto, Gumbo,
Zimuto, Mombeyarara and Chakuma focusing on the possibility of doing
what had been done in Egypt in Zimbabwe was not just “idle talk” but
there was a conspiracy. Yet the Magistrate said the report of the
State’s one witness (a police officer who attended the meeting
surreptitiously and who had allegedly observed all the 45 suspects
committing the offence) was fictitious.   While a victory has been won
for 39 of the accused, 6 activists remain detained in appaling
conditions (see extracts of an article below).   Activists around the
world will be continuing with protests to demand the release of the
remaining 6. A message came from socialists in the U.S. : “In the U.S.
, we are organizing pickets at the Zimbabwean Embassy and Mission (
Washington , DC and NYC) this Wednesday, March 9, to demand the
immediate release of the remaining 6. Thanks so much for the updates
and for those organizing solidarity actions elsewhere, please feel free
to contact me directly. In solidarity-Sherry” (email:   ** PS – Anyone can also follow messages
posted at:!/home.php?sk=group_178601402184959 
(you do not need to be on facebook to be able to follow)   In
solidarity,   Ashley Fataar Keep Left, South Africa   ** Conditions in
Zimbabwe ’s Jails **   In Prison, the detainees face the reality of
jail in Zimbabwe . Prisoners are fed one meal a day, consisting of a
maize meal like porridge with boiled beans or cabbage. Those fortunate
enough to have visitors will enjoy a proper meal that includes meat and
vegetables.   Shantha Bloemen, the partner (wife) of Munyaradzi Gwisai,
one of the 45 detainees, tweeted that the prisoners had also been
infected with Lice due to the unhygienic conditions in the prisons.  
Blankets are rarely washed. Any soiling on them is simply left for the
next prisoner to endure. There is no luxury of sheets here.   In
another tweet Shantha states: “We are sitting in office at national HQ
prison. Walls needing paint, piles of yellowing paper and prison
calendar entitled story behind walls. Three huge mercs plus big four
wheel drive sit in center of open courtyard.”   The toilet system is
run down. When the water in the pipes comes for it, it comes at a
Six socialist activists in Zimbabwe face the death penalty for watching
a video about the revolt in Egypt. Munyaradzi Gwisai, Hopewell Gumbo,
Antonater Choto, Welcome Zimuto, Eddson Chakuma, and Tatenda
Mombeyarara are charged with treason. Treason is punishable by death.
Please join the protest outside the Zimbabwean embassy this Friday 11
March, 12 noon – 1.30pm, 429 Strand, London, WC2R 0JR.
Human rights and political activists in Zimbabwe are facing a major
clampdown, with over 60 currently held in detention and many allegedly
tortured. In Harare, 45 people have been charged with treason and face
the death penalty if convicted. More activists have been arrested in
Bulawayo and Manicaland province.
On 19 February, Munyaradzi Gwisai and 44 other activists were arrested
by police in Zimbabwe's capital Harare while holding a meeting to
discuss events in Egypt and Tunisia.  They were detained beyond the 48
hours prescribed by law and were told that they were being charged with
treason just minutes before being taken to court on 23 February. If
convicted of treason, they could face the death penalty. Munyaradzi
Gwisai told the court that he and other activists had been tortured
while in detention at Harare Central police station.  The activists
were denied access to their lawyers and medical treatment.  The 34 men
are now detained at Harare Central Remand Prison while the 11 women are
detained at Chikurubi Women’s Prison.
On 28 February seven members of the campaigning organizations Women of
Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) and Men of Zimbabwe Arise (MOZA) were arrested in
Bulawayo. They were reportedly tortured at Bulawayo Central police
station. They were released on 2 March on $50 bail and must report to
police twice a week. On 1 March, 14 WOZA activists were arrested during
various meetings on social issues in Bulawayo and released the same day
without charge.
In Manicaland, 23 villagers and their Member of Parliament, Douglas
Mwonzora, have been in custody since their arrest in mid-February. They
are accused of public violence following clashes between members of
President Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party and the MDC-T party, to which Douglas
Mwonzora belongs.  No ZANU-PF activists were arrested.  The 24
detainees were granted bail on 21 February but the state used Section
121 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act (CPEA) to suspend the
bail order, and extend the detention by another seven days. This
section of the CPEA has been used in the past to prolong detention of
perceived opponents of ZANU-PF.
PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in English or your own language:
the Attorney General of Zimbabwe and Commissioner General of
Police expressing concern over the arbitrary arrests, unlawful
detention and torture of Mr Munyaradzi Gwisai and some of the 44
activists arrested on 19 February after holding a meeting to discuss
events in Egypt and Tunisia.  Urge them to end abusing the law against
perceived political opponents of ZANU-PF party;
n  To the Attorney General urging him to drop the treason charges
against the 45 activists arrested solely for exercising their right to
freedom of expression. Urge him to immediately and unconditionally
release them;To the Commissioner General of Police urging him to end arbitrary
arrest and unlawful detention of human rights activists and perceived
opponents of ZANU-PF. Urge him to investigate the allegations of
torture and bring the responsible security agents to justice. Urge him
to guarantee access to lawyers and medical treatment to all detainees
including those allegedly tortured in custody.

The Attorney General
Johannes Tomana         
Government of Zimbabwe
P. Bag 7714, Causeway
Harare   , Zimbabwe      
Fax: +263 4 777049
Salutation: Dear Attorney General

Commissioner-General of Police
Augustine Chihuri          
Zimbabwe Republic Police
P. O. Box 8807, Causeway
Harare   , Zimbabwe
Fax: +263 4 253 212
Salutation: Dear Commissioner-General

Copies to: Her Excellency
Ms Jacqueline Nomhle ZWAMBILA, Ambassador,
Embassy of the Republic of Zimbabwe,
11 Culgoa Circuit,
O'Malley ACT 2606,
Fax: (02) 6290 1680,
Email : ,
Salutation: Your Excellency

Please check with if sending appeals after
the above date.
UA: 55/11 Index: AFR 46/004/2011 Issue Date: 03 March 2011

No comments:

Post a Comment