Solidarity with 52 activists arrested in Zimbabwe for ‘plotting an Egypt'

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Sifuna Zonke
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Feb 22 2011 18:04
Solidarity with 52 activists arrested in Zimbabwe for ‘plotting an Egypt'

On Saturday 19th February, at 16h30, 52 pro-democracy activists comprising students, workers and trade unionists were arrested in Harare, Zimbabwe. They were arrested for “plotting an Egypt” at a meeting to discuss the fall of Mubarak and events in North Africa and the Middle East, and had just shown a film on the uprising in Egypt. The meeting had been infiltrated by the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO).

The people that the state considers to be ringleaders have reportedly been beaten and tortured in custody. Amongst those arrested are HIV positive women, who have been denied treatment. One of the women arrested also had major brain surgery last year, and was said to have been beaten in police custody. Another broke her leg trying to escape when they were being arrested.

As of yesterday the comrades had not yet been charged, although the state can only legally detain someone for 48 hours without laying charges.

Today, Tuesday 22 February, they were sent back from the courts and are back at Harare Central Prison awaiting an unknown fate at the brutal hands of a merciless dictatorship. According to the lawyers the police want to charge them with subverting a constitutional government with a punishment of up to 20 years in jail. And on top of this, Mugabe has returned from Singapore for medical care and his birthday celebrations were apparently postponed until today -a first since 1986. A sign that those around him are scrambling to secure tighter security control and send a signal that they will not tolerate any dissent. The case was also reportedly the second story after Mugabe's birthday on ZTV this morning. Mugabe’s thugs are said to be setting them up for treason and did interviews stating they should be locked up behind bars.

Our concern now is that, in the context of the massive uprisings and rebellions in North Africa and the Middle East, the Mugabe regime is scared that this example and inspiration could spread south, and is either bracing for a potential uprising itself, or is using the ‘threat’ of this to further suppress existing movements and struggles. According to the wife of one of those arrested - Munyaradzi Gwisai, the director of the Labour Law Center and general coordinator of the International Socialist Organisation - the regime’s propaganda machine is working in over drive to make an example of them.

It has now become crucial to put more pressure on the regime to release these comrades, and we are appealing to our sister organisations, libertarians and socialist revolutionaries everywhere - if at all they can - to help demand the release of the 52 arrestees by phoning, emailing and faxing people in the regime and by staging pickets and demonstrations at your local Zimbabwean embassies and consulates (see list: http://embassy.goabroad.com/embassies-of/Zimbabwe).

You can also call the following numbers to express your support for their unconditional release:

Wayne Bvudzijena (police spokesman): +263 11 801 172 (mobile)
Happyton Bonyongwe (Director of the Central Intelligence Organisation): +263 4 497 849 (home)
Patrick Chinamasa (minister of “Justice”): 263 4 860 006 (home)
President’s Office: +263 4 252 440 or +263 4 700 071
Police Commisioner Augustine Chihuri: +263 4 250 008 (office) or +263 11 808 290 (mobile)
Home Affairs (police) Minister Kembo Mohadi: +263 11 605 424 (mobile) or +263 4 794628 (office)
State Security (C.I.O.) Minister Didymus Mutasa: +263 11 200 532 (mobile) or 263 4 774189 (office)

It has been requested that emails or statements also be copied to socialismfrombelow[at]gmail.com, ashley_fataar[at]yahoo.co.uk and shanthabloemen[at]gmail.com.

See ZACF statement here: http://www.anarkismo.net/article/18842
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