Human rights: Amnesty petitions govt

Amnesty International plans to petition the Zimbabwe government in an effort to halt human rights violations that have escalated in recent month.

Johannes Tomana
Johannes Tomana

The organisation has urged members of the public to petition the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa and Attorney General, Johannes Tomana, following the recent harassment of leaders of Women of Zimbabwe Arise, among other human rights campaigners.

In a statement, Amnesty urged officials to end the systematic harassment and intimidation of WOZA activists and their leaders by police authorities in Bulawayo and guarantee the safety of leaders Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu while in custody.

It called on the Chief Law Officers in the Office of the Attorney General and the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs to ensure that the rights of the two human rights defenders were upheld during their detention and that they are accorded their right to a fair trial, including their right to bail.

Mahlangu and Williams, who are both recovering from recent medical operations, have been denied bail and remanded in custody until October 6 following their arrest on September during a peaceful march commemorating the United Nations World Peace Day.

They were arrested alongside 10 other women who have since been released.

“Amnesty International is concerned that the two activists’ may not be accorded their right to a speedy and fair trial as previously, human rights defenders arrested on spurious criminal charges have been unreasonably denied bail.

The state often invokes section 121 of the Criminal Procedures and Evidence Act to delay release of detainees by seven days. This law has been applied selectively against critics of government policies,” the organisation said.

It added, “Amnesty International is also concerned about the ongoing harassment and intimidation of WOZA members and other human rights defenders in Zimbabwe who are exercising their right to peaceful protest. The organisation is further concerned about the potential ill-treatment of the WOZA activists while in detention at Mlondolozi Prison.”

Mahlangu and Williams are among scores of human rights defenders that have borne the brunt of a campaign by the Robert Mugabe regime to silence critics.

Post published in: Politics

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