10 May 2008

Zimbabwe urgent protest to save union leaders

ZCTU Alert, 9 May 2008

Police have failed to bring to court ZCTU president, Comrade Lovemore Matombo and his secretary general, Comrade Wellington Chibebe after they were locked up yesterday on allegations of ‘inciting people to rise against the government’.

The two were arrested after they presented themselves to the police yesterday morning. They were initially interrogated for more than six hours before charges were laid against them. They had availed themselves to the police after armed police had visited their residences searching for them.

The allegations arise from speeches which the two made at this year’s May Day celebrations at Dzivaresekwa Stadium.

Aleck Muchademehama, a human rights lawyer who is representing the two said there were no longer any prospects of the police taking the two to court, considering that nothing had been done to prepare the requisite court papers.

He said the two were now set to spend the weekend in police custody as Zimbabwean law stipulates that the police can detain any suspect for a maximum of 48 hours, excluding weekends and public holidays, before he or she is brought to court.

Zimbabwean police are in the habit of detaining political and civil rights activists over the weekend before they are taken to court the next week. The weekend detentions are usually aimed at breaking down the activists, who are usually exposed to extreme inhuman conditions while in police custody.

well in chateau Wall, its been a busy day...my three sons have been moving industrial amounts of compost (the 'I have broken my back' gambit, will be over soon, 'so can you a)dig the garden, b)wash the dishes c)do your SATS practice', the cracks in my vertabrae are nearly healed), I have been killing the slugs with lager (is Special Brew the most effective killer of the killers of my veg, socialist pest control tips welcome), I have been blogging about a new ecosocialist blog from a green shop Steward, missed the march today but planning to mark the 'catastrophe' in my own way...compassion for the Palestinians is in short supply in some places.

Getting a bit of the California Uber Alles DVD in before Dr Who...he meets his daughter, sounds dodgy to me but his grand daughter did turn up in episode with Will Hartnell....so you never know.

Any way Miranda Dunn who is my Green Party Regional Council Friend (an official post) sent me this...spread the word

Dear Greens,

Forwarding you this info so you can act. Particularly if you have access to
a fax as I will have to send my letter via snail mail.

Miranda Dunn
Barnet Green Party

In the ongoing post-election repression of the democracy movement and
workers and trade unionists in particular, Lovemore Motombo and Wellington Chibebe,
respectively President and General Secretary of the Zimbabwe Congress of
Trade Unions (ZCTU) were arrested on May 8
and charged with "inciting people to
rise against the government and reporting falsehoods about people being killed
’ for speaking out on May Day about the country's political crisis and the
growing repression of the opposition to Mugabe.

The IUF and unions internationally are calling for messages to the
government of Zimbabwe demanding their immediate and unconditional release. In view of
the extreme violence which has been frequently inflicted on union leaders
and activists, the IUF considers the government responsible for the physical
safety and well being of the arrested ZCTU leaders.

You can fax a message to the government of Zimbabwe at the number indicated
in the sample message below. We also encourage copies to the embassy of
Zimbabwe in your country (a list of embassies is available online at
http://zw.embassyinformation.com/?einfo). Please send copies of any messages you might
send to the IUF secretariat.

Sample Message to President Mugabe

To: Mr. Robert G. Mugabe,
President , Republic of Zimbabwe

Fax: +

Dear President Mugabe

Concerns: ZCTU leadership arrested

I have been informed of the arrests, on 8 May, of Lovemore Motombo and
Wellington Chibebe, President and General Secretary of the Zimbabwe Congress of
Trade Unions (ZCTU). It is my understanding that the two are charged with
"inciting people to rise against the government and reporting falsehoods about
people being killed’, i.e. exercising the right to freedom of speech which is
guaranteed them under international law and, in their capacity as trade union
officials, the Conventions of the United Nations' ILO. We therefore call on
your government to immediately and unconditionally release these two detained
trade union leaders. In view of past violence against arrested and detained
trade unionists, we hold your government responsible for their physical
integrity and well being

Yours sincerely

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