Human rights activist arrested in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe. (Joseph Mwenda, AFP)

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe. (Joseph Mwenda, AFP)

Zimbabwe's police have arrested and charged a director of a human rights organisation for alleged election fraud.

Beatrice Mtetwa, lawyer for the accused, said on Monday that Zimrights director Okay Machisa had been charged for "scanning voter registration certificates with false names and misrepresenting that these people had been registered as voters". 

Zimbabwe police over the years have led a crackdown on non-governmental organisations seen as critical of President Robert Mugabe's rule. Political tensions are running high in the country, which is preparing for elections this year.

The vote would end a four year coalition government led by rivals Mugabe and Movement for Democratic Change leader and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. Police had already carried out a raid on Zimrights's offices in central Harare in December, detaining another official, Leo Chamahwinya, who faces the same charges.

Mtetwa said the police conducted another raid after Machisa's arrest to look for evidence of any payments that had been made to the people he is alleged to have connived with.

Tsvangirai's MDC has called in the past for the police to stop harassing rights activists and their party supporters. – AFP

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