Zim cops raid gay group offices, arrest two

2010-05-25 13:20

The police have arrested two members of a gay and HIV/Aids

awareness organisation after they posted a letter in their office from Willie

Lewis Brown, former mayor of San Francisco, criticising the Zimbabwean

president’s opposition to homosexuality.

Ellen Chadehama (34) and Ingatius Mhambi (38) are employees of Gays

and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (Galz) organisation. They were arrested on allegations

under Zimbabwe’s censorship laws on Friday.

Attorney David Hofisi said the two will remain in jail until

tomorrow – today is a public holiday in Zimbabwe – after police seized the

letter from the organisation’s suburban offices.

Police said the letter, mounted on an office wall, “undermined the

authority of the president,” an offence under sweeping security laws carrying a

penalty of a fine or brief imprisonment.

During the raid, the police removed documents and files.

Hofisi said he was not allowed to visit the two staff members in

jail over the weekend.

“We asked the police to release them to us so we can come with them

to court tomorrow, but they have denied that,” he said.

The former US mayor’s letter also commended Galz as a champion of

gay rights. Brown did not respond to requests for comment left at his San

Francisco office by The Associated Press.

President Robert Mugabe has in the past described same-sex partners

as “lower than dogs and pigs”; but arrests of gays are rare in Zimbabwe.

Mugabe (86) had been in power for three decades since Zimbabwe

gained independence from Britain. Last year, he entered a power-sharing

coalition government with his longtime rival Morgan Tsvangirai following a

disputed 2008 election. However, the fragile partnership has been fraught with

disagreements, including allegations that Mugabe’s party has not done enough to

promote democratic reforms.

Human rights organisations have called for Mugabe to face trial at

the International Criminal Court on charges of political violence, vote-rigging

and human rights violations by state agents over the past decade.

Homosexuality is illegal in most African countries. Last week in

Malawi, a judge sentenced a gay couple to a maximum 14 years in prison with hard

labour after the men celebrated their engagement with a party at a hotel.

In Uganda, lawmakers are considering a bill under which homosexuals

could be sentenced to life in prison and “repeat offenders” could be executed.

Even in South Africa, the only African country that recognises gay rights, male

gangs have raped lesbians.


Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.