Police shut down Galz offices

The Zimbabwe Republic Police has finally pressed charges against the Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe and forced the organisation to shut its offices.

The police accuse Galz of operating without registration, saying it should be licenced under the Private Voluntary Organisations Act.

"We are challenging the charges which they have pressed against our clients because they have been there for more than 10 years operating under the common law.

"But the police are saying they are supposed to be registered under the PVO Act," Tonderai Bhatasara of Mupanga Bhatasara Attorneys representing Galz told The Zimbabwean on Friday in Harare.

"It is not an offence to be gay under the Zimbabwean constitution but if one man sodomises another man then it becomes an offence. It is only intolerance within the society and political leadership here in Zimbabwe which have fuelled the vilification of gays and lesbians,"

said Bhatasara.

The police's Law and Order section last Thursday confiscated computers, memory sticks, and pamphlets from GALZ offices before charging the organisation with operating without registration.

According to Bhatasara, his clients have not been given a court date and were told to be notified through summons.

The closure of the Galz offices in Harare will likely affect its members who depended on it for counselling and health education.

Human rights organisations and the international community have condemned the clampdown on Galz.

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