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Authorities must immediately release arbitrarily detained opposition activists

Authorities must immediately release arbitrarily detained opposition activists

Supporters of the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change gather during an electoral rally in March 2022 © AFP/Getty Images

Responding to the arbitrary detention and allegations of torture of more than 70 members of the opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party following a mass arrest on 16 June 2024, Khanyo Farisè, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Southern Africa, said:

“The arrest and continued arbitrary detention of 77 opposition members who had peacefully gathered at a private residence is part of a disturbing pattern of repression against people exercising their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression.

“The arrest and continued arbitrary detention of 77 opposition members who had peacefully gathered at a private residence is part of a disturbing pattern of repression against people exercising their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression.

Khanyo Farisè, Deputy Regional Director, Amnesty International, ESARO

“Zimbabwean authorities must immediately and unconditionally release these opposition members and drop all charges against them. Authorities must also uphold Zimbabwe’s constitutional and international human rights obligations including the rights to peaceful assembly, liberty and freedom from torture and other ill-treatment.

“Authorities must promptly, thoroughly, impartially, independently, transparently and effectively investigate allegations that some of those arrested were tortured while in police custody and bring to justice those suspected to be responsible. Authorities must also ensure those affected receive urgent medical attention.”

Khnayo Farisè

“Authorities must promptly, thoroughly, impartially, independently, transparently and effectively investigate allegations that some of those arrested were tortured while in police custody and bring to justice those suspected to be responsible. Authorities must also ensure those affected receive urgent medical attention.”

Background

On 16 June 2024, police arrested and detained 78 CCC members, including interim party leader Jameson Timba, who had gathered at Timba’s house to commemorate the International Day of the African Child. One of the individuals arrested was a nursing mother, and another was a 17-year-old minor who has since been released to the custody of his parent.

The group were held in custody for more than 48 hours without appearing before a competent court, in violation of Zimbabwean law. On 17 June, police charged the detainees with “gathering with intent to promote public violence and disorderly conduct.” 77 activists remain in remand as they await court proceedings scheduled for 20 June.

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