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Zimbabwe Human Rights Lawyers Accuse Police of Selective Arrests

  • Jonga Kandemiiri
  • Sithandekile Mhlanga

Human Rights Defenders Project Manager Roselyn Hanzi told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that police refuse to open dockets against ZANU-PF members even when victims report political violence to authorities

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights has accused the Zimbabwe Republic Police and Office of the Attorney General of making what the civic group called "selective arrests" of the perpetrators of political violence, favoring ZANU-PF.

Lawyers for Human Rights Executive Director Irene Petras told journalists in a workshop that court records showed some perpetrators have not been brought to book.

Human rights defenders and the two formations of the Movement for Democratic Change said their members are targeted by the police even if they are the victims of violence.

Attorney-General Johannes Tomana recently declared that he will continue prosecuting MDC supporters before those of ZANU-PF, maintaining that he has such discretion.

Human Rights Defenders Project Manager Roselyn Hanzi told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that the police routinely refuse to open dockets against ZANU-PF members even when victims report political violence to authorities.

Meanwhile, the human rights defenders group Tolerance and Reconciliation Development said it has identified 500 people in Masvingo province alone who have not been located after they went missing during the turbulent 2008 elections. The group continues to compile information on such missing persons throughout the country.

Programs Coordinator Gamuchirai Mukura said missing people, mostly Movement for Democratic Change activists, were said to have been abducted by ZANU-PF militia with the help of state security agents during the election period.

Mukura told VOA Studio 7 reporter Sithandekile Mhlanga that the compiled information will be sent to the Ministry of Home Affairs when the exercise is concluded.

The Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says more than 200 of its members were murdered during the political violence which peaked in the run-up to the June 2008 presidential run-off contest, from which Mr. Tsvangirai withdrew in protest, leaving President Robert Mugabe unopposed.

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