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Tsvangirai Asks Harare Diplomats For Help Pressuring Mugabe On Rights

Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai met Thursday with about 20 African and Western diplomats at his party's headquarters and asked fpr their assistance in bringing pressure on Harare over its recent alleged human rights violations.

The founding president of the Movement for Democratic Change said his faction of the currently divided MDC intends to appeal to the African Union and the Southern African Development Community as well as the United nations for international action.

Tsvangirai's appeal was related to the alleged beating and torture of 15 leaders of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions following attempted protests last week. Britain and the United States have both condemned the alleged beatings and torture.

However, President Robert Mugabe, in New York for the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, absolved the police in an interview with AP and blamed the beatings on the “overzealousness of one or two police, exaggerating their role.”

Tsvangirai also briefed the diplomats on the conclusions of an investigation conducted by his opposition faction into the July 2 assault of parliamentarian Trudy Stevenson and other members of the rival MDC faction led by Arthur Mutambara.

Tsvangirai faction spokesman Nelson Chamisa told Blessing Zulu of VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that President Mugabe aimed to mislead the international community in blaming rogue police when, Chamisa said, the violence was state-sanctioned.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...