ZHRC urged to pressure govt to release political prisoners

A HUMAN rights watchdog has urged the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) and regional bodies to put pressure on the government to release political prisoners.

Source: ZHRC urged to pressure govt to release political prisoners – NewsDay Zimbabwe February 8, 2017

BY NQOBANI NDLOVU

Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) said the arrests further taint the country’s questionable human rights record.

ZPP, in its latest statement, cites the arrest of clerics, Evan Mawarire and Patrick Mugadza, arguing the two are “prisoners of conscience”, whose crime is to express their political opinions and must be unconditionally released.

“The government of Zimbabwe is unnecessarily blemishing its already questionable human rights record by holding citizens in jail for solely expressing political opinions.

“ZPP urges the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission and regional bodies to pressure the Zimbabwean government to release all political prisoners and guarantee their right to freedom of expression,” the organisation said.

Mugadza was arrested last month over his claims that God had told him President Robert Mugabe would die in October this year.

Mawarire was picked up at Harare International Airport last week, as he returned home from a six-month self-imposed exile.

Mawarire now faces, among others, a charge of subversion, which carries a minimum 20-year jail term.

Opposition parties, civic society groups and the American embassy in Harare have also condemned the arrest of the clerics, and continue to demand their release, attracting the government’s ire.

Mugabe’s spokesperson and Information ministry permanent secretary, George Charamba, has told the US to “go hang on a banana tree”.

ZPP said Zimbabweans should not be jailed for exercising their democratic rights to criticise the government.

“Zimbabwe is a constitutional democracy, which guarantees the right to freedom of expression and this includes the right to express a political opinion in a peaceful manner.

“Citizens also have the right to petition the government or political leaders on any issues affecting them including demanding that the President resign if they have any lawful justification for that demand,” the statement said.

Mawarire’s bail application is set to be heard today, while Mugadza is still in prison after being denied bail.

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 1
  • comment-avatar
    Majaira Bopoto 6 months

    Guys lets have a constructive deba ate here. yes its good to have pressure groups like ZHRC carry out its mandate, but can we treat Mugadza in the same way with Mawarire? My advice is when ever you are thinking to be heroic, do it in a way that even those who support you will see reason in it. or as a nation are we subscribing to the school of lunatics? Why this bizarre way of expressing a political view. itai zvinhu zvinoita kuti nyangwe ivo vanotorture vazive kuti they are doing it because that’s what they are paid for . the bible says reva ishe wakakwira pachuru. its also anti-Christ to wish somebody death.
    mhondi bedzi ndiyo inoshuvira rufu rwemunhu. lets cut out this desire to steal the limelight nekutaura sepwere. in a revolution, the revolutionist must remain with very clear conscience after an action.