ZIMBABWE/US/AFRICA – Zimbabwe women’s group raises concern over leaders’ detention

Released on 2013-02-21 00:00 GMT

Email-ID 711575
Date 2011-09-27 15:27:06

Zimbabwe women’s group raises concern over leaders’ detention

Text of report by Alex Bell entitled “WOZA concerned over leaders’
detention” by London-based Zimbabwe independent SW Radio Africa on 26
September

Pressure group Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) has raised concern about
the ongoing detention of its leaders, Jenni Williams and Magodonga
Mahlangu, who were arrested on International Peace Day last week.

The pair is being held at the notorious Mlondolozi Prison on charges of
‘kidnapping’ and ‘theft’, which WOZA have said are “malicious” and
“spurious” allegations.

Last week 12 WOZA members were arrested during a march in Bulawayo,
which had been organized to commemorate the International Day of Peace.
Riot police were dispatched to break up the march, beating several
people in the process. 10 of the WOZA women appeared in court last
Thursday on ‘criminal nuisance’ charges, but the prosecutor refused to
bring a case against them and they were released.

Williams and Mahlangu however were charged separately and have been
remanded in custody until 6th October. Lawyer Kossam Ncube told SW Radio
Africa that a bail application has been filed in the High Court, and
they are expecting to hear from the Attorney General’s office on Tuesday
about a bail decision.

“Chances are that bail will be denied,” Ncube said, explaining that the
Attorney General’s office last week had instructed the Magistrates Court
to deny the WOZA leaders bail.

Ncube also explained that the ‘kidnapping’ and ‘theft’ charges are
related to an incident in July, when WOZA had experienced a number of
thefts at their offices. WOZA meanwhile said in a statement that the
incident is being “used by the police to lay charges without any
investigation of the true facts of the matter or genuine suspicion of
guilt, merely to punish the WOZA leaders.”

“Officer George Levison Ngwenya of the Bulawayo Central Law and Order
department, who has been previously named and shamed by WOZA for his
brutal handling of arrested WOZA members, may be using these spurious
allegations as his way of getting even. Having failed in the past to
secure convictions of WOZA members on charges related to activities in
defence of human rights, he may now have devised a new strategy of
seeking to pin common criminal charges on the women,” WOZA said.

The WOZA statement also raised concerns about how the two women will be
treated in Mlondolozi, warning that “the last time that they were
detained in the prison in 2008 they were subjected to abuse at the hands
of the prison authorities.”

Source: SW Radio Africa, London, in English 26 Sep 11

BBC Mon AF1 AFEausaf 270911 sm

(c) Copyright British Broadcasting Corporation 2011

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