Zimbabwe Human Rights Activists Rearrested

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Telephone:   (202) 546-7961
Email:  africaaction@igc.org

Zimbabwe Human Rights Activists Rearrested

Africa Action Calls for Immediate Release and End to Police Impunity in Zimbabwe

WASHINGTON - Today Africa Action
unequivocally condemns the re-arrest of human rights defender Jestina
Mukoko
and 17 other Zimbabwean civil society activists; just two months after
they
were released on bail.  Jestina Mukoko,
a valiant human rights defender is still recovering from torture and
abuse at
the hand of the Zimbabwe republic police when she was arrested last
year.

Last year Mukoko was abducted at 3:00am, and went
missing
for nearly two months. The police denied holding her or having any
knowledge as
to her whereabouts. She eventually resurfaced as a result of the
collective
ground swelling efforts- international and local- to pressure on the
Government
of Zimbabwe. 

Gerald LeMelle, Executive Director of Africa
Action said
this morning “We are utterly outraged by these cases of gross human
rights
violations.

People of good conscience all over the world must condemn such
appalling acts
of human rights abuses.” 
LeMelle adds, “It is
unfortunate that such acts continue under the new inclusive government
of Zimbabwe
one of whose benchmarks is supposed to be respect for human rights”

As Zimbabwe Peace Project's Director, Mukoko
worked hard
to advance the cause of human rights and democracy in Zimbabwe. She
spoke for
many who were voiceless.

“We note with great alarm that the fabricated
charges
against her are still in place. We believe that these charges should be
dropped
immediately and Jestina must be allowed to go
back to her
life of civic activism without threats or interference from the
Government of
Zimbabwe,”
said Michael Stulman, Associate Director of Policy and
Communication.

Africa Action holds great concern that the
Government of
Zimbabwe continues to hold other political prisoners. LeMelle adds “If
the
new inclusive government of Zimbabwe is serious, and wants to be taken
seriously by the world, its human rights, governance and democratic
record must
improve and that includes immediate release of all political prisoners.

All political detainees in Zimbabwe have told
stories of
torture and other forms of abuse at the hands of state agents.  In March 2008, Africa Action sent a joint
delegation to witness Zimbabwe's historic elections. The executive
summary
compiles the most critical analysis and policy
recommendations from
the delegation's Special Report Zimbabwe: The Dream Deferred,
jointly
published
with TransAfrica Forum (Full
report available here
). 

Africa Action calls for those responsible for
torture and
abuse to be held accountable for their actions. The culture of impunity
by
Zimbabwe's police and other security agents must stop immediately if
the inclusive
government is to be taken seriously.

 

###

Africa Action is a national organization that works for political, economic and social justice in Africa. Through the provision of accessible information and analysis combined with the mobilization of public pressure we work to change the policies and policy-making processes of U.S. and multinational institutions toward Africa. The work of Africa Action is grounded in the history and purpose of its predecessor organizations, the American Committee on Africa (ACOA), The Africa Fund, and the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC), which have fought for freedom and justice in Africa since 1953. Continuing this tradition, Africa Action seeks to re-shape U.S. policy toward African countries.

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