via Canadian arrested in Zimbabwe for taking photo | Toronto Sun NOVEMBER 06, 2013
Jan Corley said she was not scared, just very angry after she and two other Canadian women were arrested for taking photos at the Salvation Army’s Howard Hospital in Zimbabwe last month.
Corley, 60, of Peterborough, Ont., had previously volunteered at the hospital in April 2012 after she heard the hospital’s chief medical officer, Toronto-born doctor Paul Thistle, speak about it at an event. But when he was removed from his position in August 2012 — supporters say it was because he blew the whistle on corruption within the church — the hospital fell on hard times and donated funds from Corley’s church went missing.
Corley decided to return to the hospital last month, and she was joined by retired family practitioner Lorraine Irvine from Victoria, B.C., and Shirley Watkinson, an emergency room nurse from Winnipeg.
The three arrived at the hospital on Oct. 18 and Corley said she was shocked to see the once filled-to-the-brim hospital with so few patients.
“We wanted to go back and see the people, our friends and get a firsthand account of what Howard was like now as opposed to what it was like before,” Corley said Tuesday. “I was struck by the emptiness. There was hardly anybody inside.”
Corley and Watkinson began taking photographs and were about to leave when they were accosted by two male hospital employees, members of the Zimbabwean branch of the Salvation Army.
“They were pretty nasty,” she said.
The women walked away but were followed by the hospital’s administrator who ordered a nearby police officer to arrest them, Corley said.
All three women were forced into a Salvation Army vehicle.
“We were held against our will,” she said. “We were locked in the back.”
The women were taken to two different police stations and held for five or six hours before they were released after Watkinson agreed to delete all the photos on her camera.
Corley was able to conceal her camera before the group’s arrest and returned to Canada with her photos.
She said it was a tough experience to be treated that way by members of her own church, but she’s not going to let the experience keep her from returning.
“I’ll go back to Zimbabwe. That’s not going to stop me,” she said