Police intensify campaign against gay activists

Posted on August 29, 2012 | Category: Politics; Business, Sport



According to the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), the activists are being visited at their homes and those that were not found have been ordered to report to their local police stations.

Lawyer Kumbirai Mafunda said two truckloads with about 20 police officers raided the GALZ offices Monday afternoon, claiming they were searching for illegal data and offensive materials. No search warrant has been produced.

“We have not been advised of any charges being brought by the police. We have deployed lawyers to monitor the situation and they have not been shown any search warrant by the police,” Mafunda told SW Radio Africa.

Last week riot police, some of them “visibly drunk”, disrupted a party at the GALZ offices that was held following a meeting to discuss the new draft constitution. The group had also launched their Violations Report, detailing abuses against the gay community in Zimbabwe. It is believed this may be the reason for the raid.

A group of 31 male and 13 female members were arrested last Thursday and taken to Harare Central, where they were ordered to give their names, addresses and other personal details. Some members said they were assaulted with baton sticks, open hands and clenched fists. No charges were specified by the police.

Mafunda confirmed that police were searching for the same activists that were detained last week and at least three members have been interrogated so far. They say police asked them about materials at the GALZ offices that “insult the authority of the President”.

The global rights group Amnesty International released a statement condemning the police action. Audrey Gaughran, Amnesty International’s Africa director said: “The police action is a blatant violation of the basic human rights of these individuals. They have not committed any crime under Zimbabwean law.”

Amnesty said they fear “these acts of harassment and intimidation by police contribute to a climate of discrimination, harassment and fear for individuals who may be targeted for violence on the basis of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity”.

SW Radio Africa News

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