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Zimbabwe Opposition Releases Annual Report on Political Violence

Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change has published its charges of political violence for 2004, blaming it on the ruling ZANU-PF party. ZANU-PF is denying the claims.

The Movement for Democratic Change says seven of its members of parliament, 53 party officials, and hundreds of activists were subjected to arrest, intimidation, beatings or torture in 2004. The 15-page report says violence began three days into the year.

The report says every second day during January, somebody seen as connected with the MDC was beaten up, knocked unconscious, raped, had their homes destroyed or their children attacked and abducted. Two died that month.

The report says the pace of violence picked up again before parliament by-elections.

The rate of attacks decreased slightly after the MDC announced at the end of August it would take part in no more elections.

Most of the violence described by the report was gang attacks, destruction of poor people's property, arrests, rape, torture, and beatings. Most of the victims in the report are named, and the MDC also names many of those it says were the perpetrators.

Many of the incidents appeared in monthly reports by the independent group of researchers from the Human Rights Forum.