Activists protest at UK home of CIO who was granted asylum

arrest_machemedzeOver the weekend dozens of MDC-T activists demonstrated at the Bristol home of Phillip Machemedze, a former CIO agent controversially granted asylum in the United Kingdom.

Despite confessing to the kidnapping of dozens of MDC activists and carrying out acts of torture “too gruesome to recount” Machemedze and his wife were granted asylum under much criticized European human rights legislation. On Saturday MDC-T UK and Ireland chairman, Tonderai Samanyanga, led a group of party members to protest outside Machemedzes house. Some waved placards written Arrest him Now and others said Human Rights Abuser, Hague Waiting. Although Machemedze was not at home, Samanyanga said they met his neighbours and other people in the community to press home their concerns.

Samanyanga told SW Radio Africa the Geneva Convention on Refugees provides for those who are running away from persecution and not self confessed criminals who are perpetrators of such persecutions. He said Machemedze belongs in prison for crimes against humanity and that it was not safe to live in the same community with him in Zimbabwe and its still not safe for the hunted to be refugees living in the same community with their hunters, in the UK.

The Zimbabwe Vigil who have been protesting in London against human rights violations in Zimbabwe for almost nine years, also weighed in with similar criticism. Anger at the ridiculous decision to allow him to stay in the UK is unlikely to flag, given the gruesome possibility that it could further open the door to any torturer in the world to find haven in Britain under crazy human rights legislation which seems to support the perpetrator of abuses rather than the victim, the group said.

The Zimbabwe Vigil also called on Machemedze to be tried in the UK under international laws against human rights violators. They went on to say; After all, he has admitted committing atrocities too gruesome to recount. Otherwise he should be sent to The Hague for trial by the International Criminal Court. A third possibility is that any of his victims who may be in the UK should sue him in the British courts.

Machemedze worked for the notorious CIO in Zimbabwe for almost four years. In his UK asylum application he admitted to smashing the jaw of an MDC activist with pliers. He stripped another activist naked and threatened to force him to rape his daughters if he did not give information. In another incident he electrocuted, slapped, beat and punched “to the point of being unconscious” a white farmer suspected of donating money to the MDC. He is also accused of amputating the limbs of MDC supporters so that they died slowly.

Although the UK Home Office rejected his asylum application in March this year, a tribunal in May ruled he would be killed if returned to Zimbabwe. Justice David Archer, of the Immigration and Asylum Chamber, ruled that under the European Human Rights Convention Machemedze should be protected from torture and threats to his life. But UK Home Secretary Theresa May has already said they will launch a bid to overturn the ruling.

The case has received huge coverage in the British media. This week details emerged of how 46 year old Machemedze, despite his violent past, worked as a support worker for the Milestones Trust, a Bristol charity supporting people with dementia, learning disabilities and mental health needs. Before that he worked at a drug and alcohol recovery hospital known as The Priory in Stapleton. His former employers all say it was unfortunate his background was not made known to them.

Also infuriating many British taxpayers is the fact that Machemedza and his wife are living on social support benefits. Its also being claimed he used forged documents to look for work and the police are looking into this. In theory asylum seekers whose cases are still being processed are not allowed to work, but it seems Machemedze got around this.

Post published in: Politics

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