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Zimbabwe High Court Clears Way for Human Rights Photo Exhibit to Open in Harare


Judge Samuel Kudya dismissed police claims that some images were suspected of coming from the Democratic Republic of Congo, not Zimbabwe, and arguments that those depicted in the photos must give their permission

A photo exhibition organized by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association went ahead late Wednesday in Harare after the high court ordered police to return the pictures they had seized Tuesday within one hour.

Judge Samuel Kudya dismissed police claims that some images were suspected of coming from the Democratic Republic of Congo, not Zimbabwe, and arguments that those depicted must give their permission.

The exhibition of photos on the theme of human rights ran into trouble Tuesday when policy briefly detained ZimRights National Director Okay Machisa and seized the photos. But as VOA Studio 7 correspondent Irwin Chifera reported, the exhibition went on as scheduled with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai present.

Elsewhere, Tsvangirai's formation of the former opposition Movement for Democratic Change said the Zimbabwe Republic Police have been arresting members on frivolous grounds in recent weeks in what the party termed intimidation and harassment.

The MDC issued a statement Wednesday saying 22 of its members including a pregnant woman have been held in Manicaland province for nearly a week. Mutasa North Member of Parliament David Chiminhi said members were accused of trying to disrupt a political meeting of President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party.

Mazowe Central Lawmaker Shepherd Mushonga was arrested and detained in Bindura last weekend.

Under Zimbabwean law, police must arraign suspects within 48 hours of their arrest.

MDC Deputy Organizing Secretary Morgan Komichi told VOA Studio 7 reporter Patience Rusere that the arrests look like a ZANU-PF tactic to intimidate people into supporting the Kariba constitutional draft which reinforces presidential powers and which some call deficient on human rights protections.

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