Four student leaders arrested and detained last week while addressing students at the University of Zimbabwe, Harare, have been released. Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) President Clever Bere and three other representatives of the students union were released on Friday.
Clever Bere, Kudakwashe Chakabva from the Harare Polytechnic, Archieford Mudzengi from the Zimbabwe School of Mines and Brian Rugondo from the University of Zimbabwe were arrested on 5 August for allegedly participating in a gathering with intent to promote public violence, breach of peace or bigotry. Ten other students arrested at the same time were released the same day.
Amnesty International has welcomed the releases, but repeated its call for the charges against the student leaders to be dropped.
“We are dismayed at the continued harassment and intimidation by police of activists and human rights defenders, despite the inauguration of an inclusive government in February this year,” said Erwin van der Borght, Director of Amnesty International’s Africa Programme. “These students were arrested and detained purely as a result of attempting to exercise their right to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.
“The unlawful arrest of the student leaders demonstrates yet again the need to urgently reform the security sector in Zimbabwe in light of the numerous human rights violations that continue to be committed.”