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Doctor Released, Not Charged in Zimbabwe - 2002-08-31

Authorities in Zimbabwe have released the medical director of the Amani Trust human rights organization, without bringing charges against her.

Police say the human rights group's medical director, Frances Lovemore, was detained Thursday in connection with media reports, in which she said members of the ruling party's youth militia allegedly raped several women.

Lawyers representing Dr. Lovemore say, if she had been charged and brought to trial, she would have presented case histories of about 12 women, one only 14-years-old, whom she treated or counseled after they were raped.

Dr. Lovemore gave up her private medical practice to join the Amani Trust human rights group, and has treated thousands of people, mostly supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, since the onset of violence in Zimbabwe in February 2000.

The Trust monitors political violence in Zimbabwe, and assists torture victims with medical assistance. The government has accused the group of being part of a Western plot to destabilize Zimbabwe.

Earlier, two more MDC members were charged with murder, bringing to more than 200 the number of party members now awaiting trial.

MDC Secretary General Welshman Ncube said that two-thirds of the party's 30-member national executive council are now facing trial. He said five of the top six MDC officials, including himself, are also facing trial.