Protest aftermath – state security agents, police clampdown on political and pro-democracy activists

HUMAN rights lawyers on Friday 26 August 2016 endured a hectic day as they mounted searches for several political and human rights activists, who were reported missing after they were picked up by some state security agents and police officers in a retributive exercise following the suppression of anti-government protests.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) deployed its members across some police stations located in Harare in search of human rights campaigner Gift Ostallos Siziba, who was seized and bundled into a vehicle in central Harare during a High Court sanctioned protest to demand substantive electoral reforms.

Siziba was later located at Harare Central Police Station, where ZLHR lawyers also discovered that Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers had rounded up several political and human rights activists including a pregnant women.

ZLHR lawyers are also still searching for freelance photo-journalist James Jemwa, who is reported to have been seized while covering the Friday protest, which was blocked by ZRP officers who dispersed protesters and fired teargas canisters.

In Harare’s Glenview high-density suburb, some unidentified armed men raided the home of Kerina Dewah, a 61 year-old women, who serves as the Vice Chairperson for the MDC-T party’s Harare province and seized her under some unexplained motives. ZLHR lawyers are working towards ascertaining her whereabouts.

“ZRP officers also quizzed pro-democracy campaigner Sten Zvorwadza before releasing him without pressing a charge against him over his role in organising Wednesday’s anti-government protests in which protesters demonstrated against rising incidents of police brutality,” ZLHR said.

“On Saturday 27 August 2016, another pro-democracy campaigner Promise Mkwananzi is expected to appear at Harare Magistrates Court following his arrest on Friday 26 August 2016 for allegedly inciting and committing public violence.

Meanwhile, Harare Magistrate Tendai Mahwe on Friday 26 August 2016 postponed to Monday 29 August 2016, hearing of the matter involving 13 men, who were arrested on Thursday 25 August 2016 and charged with committing public violence during Wednesday’s protest against police brutality”

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