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Free the political prisoners in Zimbabwe
Petition Background (Preamble):
They have been charged with treason, which is a capital offence in Zimbabwe.
Statements about the case can be viewed at:
• Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s deputy director for Africa - http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/zimbabwe-treason-charges-attack-freedom-expression-2011-02-25;
• COSATU condemns arrest of ISO activists in Zimbabwe - http://www.cosatu.org.za/show.php?include=docs/pr/2011/pr0222e.html&ID=4521&cat=COSATU Today
The original arrests involved 45 people. Of those, 39 have now been freed with all charges dropped.
We join with Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International Deputy Director for Africa, in condemning the torture of at least seven of the detainees inflicted by security agents in the basement of the Harare Central Police Station, who assaulted them with broomsticks, metal rods and pieces of timber in an effort to secure confessions that would implicate the detainees in the commission of treason.
We support the statement by Bongani Masuku, International Relations Secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions, that the allegations against the detainees are baseless: it is absurd that people can be charged with treason and “attempting to subvert a constitutional government” because they attended a meeting to watch video footage that is freely available to the rest of the world via the internet.
We agree with the statement by the Movement for Democracy in Zimbabwe that the arrests reveal that the Zimbabwean state is denying the people of Zimbabwe their democratic and constitutional rights of freedom of movement and gathering.
We repeat the call by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, that all those being held in custody be released without delay, and further insist that the Zimbabwean police and government:
• Release the activists unconditionally.
• Drop all charges against those arrested on February 19.
• Return all property confiscated during the raid on the meeting.
• Uphold and respect the Zimbabwean people’s rights to freedom of speech, association and assembly, which are contained in Articles XII and XIX of the Global Political Agreement signed by Robert Mugabe on 15 September 2008.
The Free the political prisoners in Zimbabwe petition to Zimbabwe Embassy in Australia and the Hon Kevin Rudd, Minister for Foreign Affairs (Australia) was written by Barry Healy and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition. Contact author here. Petition tags: zimbabwe, munyaradzi gwisai, munya gwisai, tafadzwa antonater choto, hopewell gumbo, tatenda mombeyarara, edson chakuma, welcome zimuto, iso, political prisoners, human rights