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Zimbabwe
08.11.12
Urgent Interventions

Raid into the CSU and arbitrary detention of three of its staff members

URGENTAPPEAL - THE OBSERVATORY

ZWE 003 / 1112 / OBS 104

Arbitrary detention / Harassment /

Release on bail

Zimbabwe

November 8, 2012

The Observatory for theProtection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the WorldOrganisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for HumanRights (FIDH), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Zimbabwe.

Description ofthe situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the raidinto the Counselling Services Unit (CSU), a lawfully registeredmedical clinic providing non-partisan counselling and referral to all victimsof trauma, and the subsequent arbitrary detention ofthree of its staff members.

According to theinformation received, on November 5, 2012 around lunch time, 12uniformed and non-uniformed police officers, including members of the BombDisposal Squad and an Information Technology expert, raided the CSU offices inHarare. The clinic was surrounded by armed riot police, whothreatened to fire tear gas into the building, which is also occupied by othertenants. The police were in possession of a search warrant justifying the raid asaimed to recover material that “defaces any house, building, wall, fence, lamppost, gate, elevator without the consent of the owner or occupier” and incontravention of Section 46 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

After four hours ofsearching during which the police forcibly accessedconfidential medical records, five staff members, Messrs. Fidelis Mudimu, ZachariahGodi, James Zidzimu, Tafadzwa Geza and Penn Bruno, were arrested for further questioning and taken intocustody at Harare Central Police Station. Some files, a computer thatcontains confidential client information and client records, and two cans of spraypaint CSU keeps in the office to mark all their assets were taken as evidence.Two hours later, at about 6 pm, Messrs. James Zidzimu and Penn Bruno werereleased without charge, while Messrs. Fidelis Mudimu,Zachariah Godi and Tafadzwa Geza remained detained with noindication of charges.

On November 7, 2012,Messrs. Fidelis Mudimu, Zachariah Godi and Tafadzwa Geza were transferred to BulawayoCentral Police Station after the required time for a court appearance, andfurther detained with no defined charges on a new detention order, written inHarare and signed in Bulawayo. They were transported on the back of an openpick up truck, with no protection from the sun, despite the temperaturereaching 33 degrees in Harare. They were not interviewed by the police, butimmediately detained in the police cells.

On November 8, 2012, the three weregiven bail of USD 100 each and remanded to December 6, 2012.

The Observatory expresses its deepconcern about Messrs. Fidelis Mudimu, Zachariah Godiand Tafadzwa Geza’s arbitrary detention, which seems to only aim at sanctioningtheir human rights activities, and calls upon the authorities of Zimbabwe torelease them immediately and unconditionally.

Actionsrequested:

Please write to theauthorities of Zimbabwe asking them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrityof Messrs. Fidelis Mudimu, Zachariah Godi, James Zidzimu, Tafadzwa Geza andPenn Bruno, as well as all human rights defenders inZimbabwe;

ii. Put an end to any kind of harassment, including at the judicial level,against Messrs. Fidelis Mudimu, Zachariah Godi, James Zidzimu, Tafadzwa Geza andPenn Bruno, all CSU staff members, as well asagainst all human rights defenders in Zimbabwe;

iii. Conform with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human RightsDefenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9,1998, especially:

- its Article 1, whichstates that “everyone has the right, individually and in association withothers, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of humanrights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”,

- and its Article 12.2,which provides that the State shall “take all necessary measures to ensure theprotection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and inassociation with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de factoor de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as aconsequence of his or her legitimate exercise of his or her rights”;

iv. More generally, ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rightsand fundamental freedoms in accordance with in accordance with the UniversalDeclaration of Human Rights and with international and regional human rightsinstruments ratified by Zimbabwe.

Addresses:

· President of Zimbabwe,Mr. Robert G. Mugabe, Office of the President, Private Bag 7700, Causeway,Harare, Zimbabwe, Fax: +263 4 708 211 / + 263.4.70.38.58;

· Mr. Khembo Mohadi,co-Minister of Home Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs, 11th Floor MukwatiBuilding, Private Bag 7703, Causeway, Harare, Zimbabwe, Fax: +263 4 726 716;

· Mr. Giles Mutsekwa,co-Minister of Home Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs, 11th Floor MukwatiBuilding, Private Bag 7703, Causeway, Harare, Zimbabwe, Fax: +263 4 726 716;

· Mr. Patrick Chinamasa,Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Ministry of Justice,Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Fax: + 263 4 77 29 99 / +263 4 252 155;

· Mr. Augustine Chihuri,Commissioner General, Police Headquarters, P.O. Box 8807, Causeway, Harare,Zimbabwe, Fax: +263 4 253 212 / 728 768 / 726 084;

· Mr. Justice JohannesTomana, Attorney-General, Office of the Attorney, PO Box 7714, Causeway, Harare,Zimbabwe, Fax: + 263 4 77 32 47;

· Mrs. Chanetsa, Office ofthe Ombudsman Fax: + 263 4 70 41 19;

· H.E. Mr. James Manzou,Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Zimbabwe to the United Nations in Geneva,Chemin William Barbey 27, 1292 Chambésy, Switzerland, Fax: + 41 22 758 30 44,Email: zimbabwemission@bluewin.ch;

· Embassy of Zimbabwe inBrussels, 11 SQ Josephine Charlotte, 1200 Woluwe-Saint-Lambert, Belgium, Fax: +32 2 762 96 05 / + 32 2 775 65 10, Email: zimbrussels@skynet.be.

Pleasealso write to the embassies of Zimbabwe in your respective country.

***

Geneva-Paris, November8, 2012

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of thisappeal in your reply.

The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protectionof Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their timeof need.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

· Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / +33 1 43 55 18 80

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