10 March 2009
Zimbabwe must drop the charges against former prisoners of conscience

Prisoners of conscience Jestina Mukoko and Broderick Takawira were released on 2 March and 28 February respectively, after months in detention following their enforced disappearances in early December 2008.

Both were victims of enforced disappearance, unlawful arrest, detention, and torture by state security agents. They were released on bail after each paying US$600, surrendering their passports and depositing surety of at least US$20,000 in title deeds. They will be reporting twice a week at their nearest police station.

While Amnesty International is relieved that these human rights defenders were released, it remains concerned that they they were arrested and detained purely as a result of their legitimate human rights work.

Following their release, Amnesty International is calling on the Attorney General to remove all the conditions around the release of these prisoners of conscience and immediately drop the charges against them.

Jestina Mukoko and Broderick Takawira were among approximately 30 human rights defenders and political activists who were the victims of enforced disappearance and unlawful detention. Some are being accused by the state of recruiting people to undergo military training in Botswana. Others are being accused of bombing police stations in Harare and a railway line. They deny the charges.

Picture caption: Jestina Mukoko of the Zimbabwe Peace Project was released in March after months in detention. Copyright: Zimbabwe Peace Project.

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