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Zimbabwe update

Jestina Mukoko released

2009-03-06, Issue 422

http://pambazuka.org/en/category/zimbabwe/54628

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Human rights activist Jestina Mukoko was released on bail following three months of incarceration in Zimbabwe prisons. Africa Action welcomes this development and wishes to extend appreciation to hundreds of activists who responded to our calls over the last 3 months to take action demanding Jestina’s release. Jestina is ‘free’ today due to the collective efforts of people of good conscience all over the world who stood in solidarity with her during months of unlawful incarceration.

AFRICA ACTION WELCOMES JESTINA MUKOKO’S RELEASE
Yesterday, human rights activist Jestina Mukoko was released on bail following three months of incarceration in Zimbabwe prisons. Africa Action welcomes this development and wishes to extend appreciation to hundreds of activists who responded to our calls over the last 3 months to take action demanding Jestina’s release. Jestina is ‘free’ today due to the collective efforts of people of good conscience all over the world who stood in solidarity with her during months of unlawful incarceration. It is this outcry that made the government of Zimbabwe realize that the world is not just watching but is in fact, utterly outraged by cases of gross human rights violations.

As we welcome Jestina’s release, we note with dismay that fabricated charges against her are still in place. We believe that these charges should be dropped immediately and Jestina must be allowed to go back to her life of civic activism without any intimidation or hindrance.

Of great concern too is the fact that the government of Zimbabwe continues to hold other political prisoners. If the new inclusive government of Zimbabwe is serious, and wants to be taken seriously by the world its human rights, governance and democratic record must improve and that includes immediate release of all political prisoners. A notable case is that of Roy Bennett, the designate Deputy Minister for Agriculture in the inclusive government who has been in prison for almost a month now. Despite the fact that Roy Bennett was granted bail by the courts, he remains incarcerated because the government of Zimbabwe continues to manipulate the judicial system.

All political detainees in Zimbabwe have told stories of torture and other forms of abuse at the hands of state agents. Jestina Mukoko had to be released to a hospital because of serious health problems from torture and horrible prison conditions. In the interest of justice, we believe that those responsible for torture and abuse must be brought to book. The culture of impunity by Zimbabwe’s police and other security agents must stop immediately if the inclusive government is to be taken seriously.

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