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Zimbabwe Student Leader Assaulted; State Security Agents Suspected

A student leader at the University of Zimbabwe was being treated in the intensive care unit of a Harare clinic after being beaten early Tuesday by suspected members of the Central Intelligence Organization, sources among student activists said.

The Zimbabwe National Students Union issued a statement saying Clifford Hlatswayo, vice president of the University of Zimbabwe student representative council was beaten by six men with iron bars and police batons who invaded his room.

ZINASU Vice President Beloved Chiweshe told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that Hlatswayo was then thrown out his second-story window.

Human rights groups say such beatings, which have become commonplace, are part of a continuing crackdown on the opposition by the state security apparatus ahead of the presidential and parliamentary elections set for March 2008.

The crackdown, which began in earnest on March 11, has seen the beating of MDC founding President Morgan Tsvangirai and his top leadership, and the abduction, severe beating and torture of hundreds of members of his faction.

Opposition activist Gift Tandare was shot to death by police on March 11. Freelance cameraman Edward Chikomba was abducted and murdered in April. Doctors say a number of other deaths caused by such beatings have occurred.

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