Release Zimbabwean activists: Amnesty

2011-12-09 15:23

Special Report

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Harare - Amnesty International on Friday called for the immediate and unconditional release of three Zimbabwean human rights activists arrested on Monday, describing them as "prisoners of conscience".

Three members of the Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ), which promotes freedom of expression and responsible journalism, were awaiting a judgement on their bail application, which was due on Friday, Amnesty said in a statement.

The international human rights watchdog named the three as Fadzai December, Molly Chimhanda, Gilbert Mabusa.

A fourth MMPZ activist, Andrew Moyse, was detained by police for several hours on Tuesday.

Amnesty International's Africa programme director, Erwin van der Borght, said: "The detained activists were arrested solely for their legitimate work advocating for media reforms and freedom of expression in Zimbabwe.

"We consider them to be prisoners of conscience and are calling for their immediate and unconditional release."

Zimbabwe authorities accuse the three of taking part in a gathering without permission and allegedly "distributing material that is likely to provoke a breach of peace", Amnesty said.

Moyse was accused of possessing material on a 1980s government operation in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces in which thousands of people were killed or wounded by the security forces.

The US embassy in Harare protested on Wednesday over the arrests and the harassment of journalists in the southern African country.

In recent weeks, several chief editors and journalists have been briefly arrested, notably for "defamation" in articles about members of President Robert Mugabe's entourage.

Read more on:    amnesty international  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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