Zimbabwe police intensify threats – rights groups

2013-03-09 14:48

Rights groups say police in Zimbabwe have increased threats against civic groups a week away from a referendum on a new constitution and crucial elections to end the nation’s shaky coalition later this year.

An alliance of 15 human rights, pro-democracy and labour groups said today that police mounted “a sustained and escalating assault” on activists to discredit their organisations ahead of polling.

The state electoral commission announced on Friday that groups under police investigation or leaders facing any charges will not be allowed to observe the referendum vote next Saturday.

At least three main groups, including the independent Zimbabwe Election Support Network, are so far affected after police raids on their offices this year.

The alliance said most civic groups are facing “vague and generalised search warrants, arrests, persecution and prosecution.”

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