Zimbabwe arrests MDC protesters

2011-07-27 17:18

Special Report

Second Zimbabwean man arrested for insulting Mugabe: Lawyers
Second Zimbabwean man arrested for insulting Mugabe: Lawyers

Zimbabwean man has spent two nights in custody last month after allegedly saying President Robert Mugabe read the wrong speech in parliament because he was "old", rights lawyers say.

Harare - Zimbabwean police on Wednesday arrested at least 13 members of a rights group protesting the detention of activists from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's party, the group's spokesperson said.

They were arrested when about 20 members of the group Restoration of Human Rights gathered at the high court in central Harare to press for the release of seven people held without charge in what activists called a crackdown on opponents of President Robert Mugabe.

"The protest was to express our dismay at the selective application of the law," said Stendrick Zvorwadza, spokesperson for Restoration of Human Rights.

"It's about the illegal detention of innocent victims in a political case. These people were arrested more than a month ago and some of them were nowhere near the scene."

He accused the police of bias, saying they were unfairly targeting members of Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), while protecting supporters of Mugabe.

The two rivals share power in a tense coalition government formed in the wake of violent and inconclusive elections in 2008.

Police could not immediately be reached for comment.

The seven MDC members in custody are part of a group of more than 20 activists arrested over the killing of a police officer during clashes in Glen View township in May.

They are accused of killing a police officer during clashes that erupted after police blocked an MDC rally in the Harare township.

The seven, who deny involvement, have not been formally charged. They were denied bail.

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