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Lawyers, Activists Search for Abducted Zimbabwean Rights Monitor

Lawyers and human rights activists were unable Thursday to determine the whereabouts of Jestina Mukoko, the Zimbabwe Peace Project director abducted Wednesday by suspected state security agents, generating an international outcry.

Zimbabwean human rights lawyers said they intended to seek a court order compelling the police to provide information or help locate Mukoko, believed to have been seized at her home in Norton, some 30 kilometers from Harare, by Central Intelligence Organization agents.

From London, Amnesty International called the abduction or arrest of Mukoko “an attempt by the authorities to discourage human rights defenders” from documenting rights violations.

Her organization compiled extensive information on the political violence earlier this year and was continuing to document human rights abuses by authorities and others.

Attorney Otto Saki of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that police have not been cooperating in the search.

Washington-based Freedom House called for international intervention and Deputy Executive Director Thomas Melia said her seizure is part of a disturbing new escalation in abuses.

Zimbabwean civil society leaders Thursday deplored Mukoko’s abduction as police elsewhere used teargas to disperse members of the National Constitutional Assembly who demonstrated in Harare, as Thomas Chiripasi reported from the capital.

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