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EU MPs condemn Mugabe's attack on judiciary, want all political prisoners released

EU MPs condemn Mugabe's attack on judiciary, want all political prisoners released


Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) on Thursday expressed serious concern about the growing violence against demonstrators in Zimbabwe. They also condemned the recent statements by President Mugabe attacking the judiciary.

The Zimbabwean authorities should release all political prisoners immediately and unconditionally and not interfere with the independence of the judiciary, the MEPs said in apparent reference to Mugabe’s claim that judges were reckless for allowing protests that turned violent.

READ MORE Mugabe chides Zimbabwean judges for ‘recklessly’ allowing demonstrations

Police in the capital, Harare, have in recent weeks forcibly dispersed protesters ranging from informal traders, unemployed youth, professional groups and opposition politicians pushing for electoral reforms.

Except the opposition’s election related protests, most of the protesters were marching against job losses, mass unemployment and the government’s failure to meet people’s basic economic expectations.

The views of the MEPs were contained in three resolutions voted on Thursday. The three countries within the purview of the resolution were Zimbabwe, Somalia and the Philippines.

#Humanrights breaches in #Zimbabwe – killings, arrests & widespread intimidation in #Somalia Europarl_EN https://t.co/e5uRhQgepF

— APO (APO_source) September 15, 2016

The MEPs whiles urging respect for the rule of law also noted with alarm the recently announced one-month ban on demonstrations. The “rise in the number of arbitrary arrests of human rights defenders” worries MEPs, they added.

The legislators also hold the view that the EU Council and Commission should consider reimposing certain EU restrictive measures against the Zimbabwe regime.

READ MORE Sanctions crippled our capacity to own our international obligations, Zimbabwe’s finance minister

The only condition to lift the proposed sanctions being ‘‘once Zimbabwe is clearly on the path towards democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights,’‘ they also stated that lifting of the bulk of restrictive measures on Zimbabwe was premature.

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