Saturday, December 27, 2008

Truth, justice, and the Zimbabwean way

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Yes, things are pretty bad in Zimbabwe:

Zimbabwe has refused transfer to hospital of a top rights activist and several others accused of plotting against the regime as ordered by a court...

High Court judge Yunus Omerjee on Wednesday ordered police to release to hospital Jestina Mukoko and several opposition activists accused of recruiting or inciting people to undergo military training to fight Robert Mugabe's government.

The detainees' lawyer has said they may have been tortured in custody.

Mukoko, director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project -- a rights group which has been compiling cases of election violence -- was seized from her home on December 3 by armed men who identified themselves as police.

Two members of her staff were taken away from their office days later. They are being accused together with 28 members of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party of recruiting anti-government plotters.

The detainees, including a two-year-old boy, were taken from their homes and some from their workplaces.

That's right, one of the detainees is two years old. And while the Mugabe regime is portraying Mukoko as some sort of violent insurgent, she is actually a former journalist and one of the country's leading human rights activists -- and, yes, one of the leaders of the opposition to Mugabe's tyranny. Obviously, the Mugabe regime is trying not just to smear her but to do whatever it takes to silence her. Even if she and her fellow activists are transferred to hospital, it's not like they can expect any justice.

For more on her arrest, see here. As as Amnesty International official put it, "Mukoko's abduction or arrest was part of an established pattern of harassment and intimidation of human rights defenders by Zimbabwean authorities in an attempt to discourage them from documenting and publicizing the violations that are taking place."

The Mugabe regime is the enemy of truth and justice. There won't be any of either in Zimbabwe until Mugabe is gone.

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