Document - Zimbabwe: Human rights defenders illegally detained

URGENT ACTION

UA: 301/12 Index: AFR 46/012/2012 Zimbabwe Date: 8 November 2012

URGENT ACTION

HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS ILLEGALLY DETAINED�Three Zimbabwean human rights defenders (HRDs), have been detained without charge since Monday 5 November. On 7 November, they were illegally transferred from Harare to Bulawayo, taking them far from their support networks and raising fears for their safety. They are prisoners of conscience.

Fidelis Mudimu, Zachariah Godi and Tafadzwa Geza are senior staff members of the Counselling Services Unit (CSU) a registered medical clinic which provides medical and counselling services to victims of organized violence and torture. They were arbitrarily arrested by police following a raid on the organisation’s office in Harare on Monday 5 November.

At around 11h30 on Monday 5 November about a dozen police officers arrived at the office of the CSU, without a search warrant. Around two hours later they were joined by a truck-load of anti-riot police who threatened to fire tear gas into the clinic, risking the lives of patients, staff and others in the building. Police later produced a search warrant stating that they were there to recover “offensive and subversive material” which "defaces any house, building, wall, fence, lamp-post, gate or elevator without the consent of the owner or occupier thereof”. Police entered the premises and conducted a search and illegally seized confidential medical records, a computer and documents which were not covered by the search warrant. The three HRDs were then arrested.

On Wednesday 7 November Fidelis Mudimu, Zachariah Godi and Tafadzwa Geza were illegally transferred more than 400km from Harare to Bulawayo, in an open pick up truck without protection from the sun, despite temperatures exceeding 30°C. Harare police handed them over to Bulawayo police in the town of Kwekwe, where they were immediately handcuffed. On arrival in Bulawayo they were immediately placed in detention without being interviewed. It is illegal to detain someone without charge for over 48 hours in Zimbabwe.

Please write immediately in English or your own language:

Expressing concern over the arbitrary arrest, unlawful detention and illegal transfer of prisoners of conscience Fidelis Mudimu, Zachariah Godi and Tafadzwa Geza and calling for their immediate and unconditional release;

Expressing extreme concern that the three HRDs were transferred to Bulawayo whilst illegally detained;

Urging them to ensure that whilst the in police custody the detainees are treated in accordance with international standards, specifically that they are not tortured and are given full access to their lawyers, food, blankets and medical care where necessary;

Calling on the police to end harassment and intimidation of HRDs in Zimbabwe.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 20 DECEMBER 2012 TO:

Commissioner of Police

Augustine Chihuri

Zimbabwe Republic Police

P. O. Box 8807, Causeway

Harare, Zimbabwe

Fax: +263 4 253 212

Salutation: Dear Commissioner-General

Officer in Charge

Bulawayo Central Police Station

Zimbabwe Republic Police

PO Box 2329

Fife Street/ L Takawira Avenue

Bulawayo

Fax: +263 9 72220

Salutation: Dear Officer in Charge

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.

URGENT ACTION

HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS ILLEGALLY DETAINED

ADditional Information

The CSU is a highly respected organisation because of its work to support thousands of survivors of human right violations. Amnesty International believes that the arbitrary arrest, unlawful detention and illegal transfer of the three human rights defender is part of systematic harassment and intimidation of civil society in Zimbabwe as the country is heading for another election in 2013.

This is the second raid on the office of an NGO in Harare in less than three months. In August the office of Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ) was raided by police twice and members were arrested and detained.

Name: Fidelis Mudimu, Zachariah Godi and Tafadzwa Geza

Gender: All male�

UA: 301/12 Index: AFR 46/012/2012 Issue Date: 8 November 2012

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