By Tichaona Sibanda
10 December 2012
Rights groups on Monday once again voiced fears that authorities in the country have launched a crackdown on rights activists as the country gears up for elections set for next year.
With just months to go until crucial elections in 2013, a number of leading rights activists, including lawyers and journalists, have been arrested in an attempt to silence dissent, activists say.
The latest arrests were in Gweru on Friday where twenty-nine members from the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) were picked up while attending a meeting.
27 members were released the same day after spending 10 hours in police detention at the Gweru central police station. Police had wanted to charge them with attending an unlawful gathering, but decided against it.
They however charged Emmaculata Chiseya, ZESN’s Public Outreach Manager, and Lucy Chivasa of the Legal Resources Foundation, with organizing an unlawful gathering and failing to notify the police of a gathering in contravention of a Section the Public Order and Security Act (POSA).
Chivasa and Chiseya were only released from custody on Monday.
In a statement released Monday, ZESN deplored the continued harassment and intimidation of human rights activists.