News / Africa

Zimbabwe Activists Charged with High Treason

A group of 46 social and human rights activists, led by Munyaradzi Gwisai is alleged to have organized a meeting, appear in court in Harare, February 23, 2011
A group of 46 social and human rights activists, led by Munyaradzi Gwisai is alleged to have organized a meeting, appear in court in Harare, February 23, 2011

Forty-six people in Zimbabwe, charged with high treason, appeared in court in Harare Thursday.

Defense lawyer Alec Muchadahama said he estimates 10 of the defendants in court were having difficulty sitting down or walking.

He said they claimed they were assaulted in detention at Harare Central Police Station after their arrests last Saturday.  He said some of the defendants were denied access to medical attention.

Muchadahama said that after lengthy arguments and delays, the case was postponed until Monday.

He said the state said it needed more time to prepare its case. Muchadahama said he will apply on Monday for charges to be dropped against the 46.

The states claims the group, including 11 women, were watching videos and engaged in discussions to formulate a plot to overthrow President Robert Mugabe. Police also say the group should have secured official permission to hold their meeting.

President Robert Mugabe has regularly used treason charges against his political opponents since he came to power in 1980.

Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change and prime minister in the unity government was charged with high treason weeks before he first challenged Mr. Mugabe in presidential elections in 2002.

The best known of the group of 46 now being charged  is Munyaradzi Gwisai, a law lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe and head of the Harare branch of the International Socialist Organization.  He was previously a legislator for the MDC but was expelled because he supported Mr. Mugabe’s seizures of white-owned land.

Another in the group, Hopewell Gumbo is a former student leader, now employed by a non-governmental organization in rural areas working with farmers.

He is one of those who allege he was assaulted in detention.

In a recent interview with VOA, Gumbo said politics affected farmers regardless of whether they were Zanu PF or MDC. "I personally work for an organization that has started an initiative with the rural cotton farmers,  in terms of  pricing of their commodities, that kind of strategy goes above political differences because when Zanu PF and MDC  farmers meet  they realize their problems are common and political issues can only divide them at the end of the day," he said.

The people in the group charged with treason, which carries the death sentence, claim they met regularly to discuss international political events, particularly as they affect the working class.  

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid