International Outrage Over Conviction of Activists
Harare, March 21, 2012 – The International Commission for Jurists (ICJ) has
expressed grave concern at the conviction of six activists found watching
videos of the Egyptian and Tunisian uprisings last year as international
outrage grows over the perceived persecution of human rights activists in
Munyaradzi Gwisai, Hopewell Gumbo, Antonater Choto, Wellcome Zimuto, Eddson
Chakuma and Tatenda Mombeyarra, were on Monday found guilty of plotting an
uprising against President Robert Mugabe.
The prosecution on Tuesday called for the maximum 10-year jail sentence to
be imposed on the six.
The ICJ said it was particularly concerned that the government of Zimbabwe
was using repressive legislation to instill fear and prevent the free
enjoyment of human rights by its citizens.
“In a country purporting to be democratic, laws ought to be used to protect
citizens and not to prosecute them for raising human rights issues which the
state is obliged to uphold. All persons ought to be equal before the law and
all offenders should be legally accountable,” said Martin Masiga, the deputy
director of the ICJ African regional programme.
The ICJ urged the government to investigate allegations of tortured raised
by the six activists during their trial.
On Tuesday a conglomeration of South African civic organisations operating
under the banner of Democratic Left Front (DLF), called on President Robert
Mugabe led government to acquit the six activists who await sentencing on
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