Zim has ‘no intention’ of releasing activists

The Zimbabwean regime of Robert Mugabe has ”no intention” of releasing a rights activist and several opposition figures accused of recruiting anti-government plotters, a lawyer said on Friday.

”Nothing has changed. The police have not moved an inch and our clients are still detained at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison including the two-year-old child,” said Alec Muchadehama, one of the lawyers for the detainees.

”The state is in contempt of court. The reason they brought some of them to court is for public relations purposes to save their image but the truth is that they have no intention of releasing them,” he said.

Jestina Mukoko, director of Zimbabwe Peace Project — a rights group which has been compiling cases of election violence — was seized from her home on December 3 by armed men who identified themselves as police.

Two members of her staff were taken away from their office days later. They are being accused together with 28 members from the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) opposition party of recruiting anti-government plotters.

A two-year-old child is also among those being held.

Mukoko’s location was unknown for several weeks and a High Court order for her release went unheeded, sparking protests from international rights bodies. She appeared in court on Wednesday along with eight detainees.

The MDC signed a power-sharing deal in September with President Mugabe’s ruling Zanu-PF and a splinter from the MDC after disputed elections earlier in the year.

But MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai warned his party could pull out of the negotiations if its members continued to be abducted and those detained were not released. – AFP



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