Tuesday, 30 December 2008

More news of Jestina Mukoko

Roy Greenslade in the Guardian is also now highlighting Jestina Mukoko's situation. She now faces the death penalty after being accused of being involved in a terrorist plot to overthrow Robert Mugabe. Mukoko heads the Zimbabwe Peace Project which provides information about political violence in the country.

"The accusations brought against Mukoko are absurd and baseless," said a statement issued by the Paris-based press freedom watchdog, Reporters Without Borders. "We call on the Zimbabwean authorities to free her and withdraw all the charges at once. Coming after a series of kidnappings, the prosecution of these opposition activists has all the hallmarks of a government conspiracy to sabotage the power-sharing agreement."
A former presenter for the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) and then the privately-owned Voice of The People (VOP), Mukoko was kidnapped from her home in Norton (40 km west of Harare) at around 5 a.m. on 3 December by some 15 men in plain clothes. Thereafter, there had been no word of Mukoko until her court appearance. The police had said nothing, aside from denying any knowledge of her whereabouts.

Mukoko heads the Zimbabwe Peace Project, a human rights organisation that has provided constant information about this year’s political violence in Zimbabwe, where some 200 supporters of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC have been killed since the party’s successful challenge to the ruling ZANU-PF in last March’s general elections.

Meanwhile AP reported this on Christmas Eve:

Les officiels zimbabwéens ont maintes fois lancé ce type d'accusations, et ces accusations largement considérées comme fabriquées de toutes pièces par le régime semblent indiquer que Mugabe n'entend pas céder d'un iota, ni renoncer au pouvoir comme on l'y exhorte de toutes parts.
Pour l'avocate spécialiste des droits humains Beatrice Mtetwa, les disparitions d'opposants, dont au moins 14 ont pu être localisés dans différents commissariats de police par des avocats partis à leur recherche, sont des «enlèvements illégaux».
Me Mtetwa a expliqué que les avocats s'étaient faits chasser du commissariat principal de Harare. Mais dans d'autres locaux de police, ils ont pu constater que tous les militants retrouvés, y compris une mère détenue avec son enfant, n'avaient droit ni à des vivres ou médicaments venus de l'extérieur, ni accès à une assistance juridique.