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Zimbabwe rearrests 'brutalized' female activists, govt jabs destabilizers

Zimbabwe rearrests 'brutalized' female activists, govt jabs destabilizers


June 10: Police rearrests ‘brutalized’ activists, govt jabs destabilizers

Zimbabwe police Wednesday arrested three opposition activists on accusations that they lied in saying that they had been abducted and tortured, their lawyers said.

The arrests came as a group of U.N experts spoke against a “reported pattern of disappearances and torture” by government agents in the country.

The three opposition women alleged that they were tortured and sexually abused by their abductors, whom they said took them from a police station in May, after they had been arrested for organizing an anti-government protest. Their abductors were unidentified, but because they took the women from police custody, it appears they were some kind of state agents.

The young women were missing for nearly 48 hours before being released by their abuctors. While they were being treated in a hospital for injuries inflicted during their captivity, prosecutors charged them with contravening lockdown regulations for participating in the protest.

On Wednesday, police re-arrested the women at Harare Central Police Station where they had gone to surrender their passports as part of their bail conditions in the case linked to the protest march, said Kumbirai Mafunda, spokesman for Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, which is providing lawyers for the trio.

The arrests came as a group of United Nations human rights experts said the Zimbabwe government should “immediately end” the practice of disappearances and torture “that appear aimed at suppressing protests and dissent.” The U.N. experts also said the government should “ensure the effective protection of women from sexual violence, and to bring those responsible to account.”

Zimbabwe’s Home Affairs Minister Kazembe Kazembe told reporters Wednesday that the alleged abductions had been fabricated and were part of a wider agenda to destabilize President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government.

He accused political rivals, local and foreign Christian preachers and foreign diplomatic missions based in Zimbabwe of trying to create dissent. He dismissed “rumors” of an impending coup, saying the government “is stable and peaceful internally.”

Speaking at a party meeting on the same day, Mnangagwa also spoke of a plot against his government which “culminated in the purported abductions.”

May 15: Zimbabwe female opposition politicians abducted, assaulted, abandoned

Three female opposition members were this week abducted leading to an outcry and diplomatic concerns raised by the United States, United Kingdom and Canada.

On Friday (May 15) all three were found having been assaulted and abandoned along a road, the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change confirmed in a tweet.

The three included a sitting lawmaker, MP Joanna Mamombe and youth leaders Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marov. They were reportedly arrested on Wednesday while they held a demonstration over the government’s Covid-19 response.

Reports said they were protesting effects of an ongoing virus lockdown on the most vulnerable section of society.

“Lawyers just informed us that Cecilia Chimbiri , Joana Mamombe and Netsai Marova victims of enforced disappearance, were dumped and found late last night.

“Sadly, they are in bad shape having been subjected to torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. These rogue regime terror tactics!” disputed leader of the MDC Nelson Chamisa tweeted.

Cecillia Chimbiri, Hon. Joanna Mamombe & Netsai Marova were found badly beaten & dumped along Bindura Road. They have since been rescued with the help of our lawyers. The Police attended the scene. They’re currently in the process of checking into a medical centre for treatment. pic.twitter.com/STzXixghBe

— MDC Zimbabwe (@mdczimbabwe) May 15, 2020

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