Police action condemned

handcuffsHARARE - Board members of the close Radio Voice of the People (VOP) Arnold Tsunga, Millie Phiri, Bella Matambanadzo, David Masunda and Nhlanhla Ngwenya have been arrested and at the time of going to press were being held in police custody at Harare Central. Police officers had previously visited

the home of Matambanadzo, with a view to arresting her as one of the trustees of VOP. Matambanadzo is the Zimbabwe Programme Manager for the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa, OSISA, a regional human rights organisation based in South Africa. All persons connected with VOP have been and continue to be continuously unnecessarily harassed by state authorities and their rights have been blatantly violated in total disregard of their rights to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. The police now seem intent on pursuing a disturbing new modus operandi in which innocent individuals are being detained in order to secure unlawfully the presence of human rights defenders. Such a trend of arresting individuals who are not even related to the operations of VOP on trumped up charges, in order to coerce the trustees of VOP to report to the police is condemned in the strongest of terms. – ZLHR

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