Accessibility links

Breaking News

Zimbabwe Security Minister Says Abductions Sanctioned By State

Zimbabwean State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa has declared in court documents that agents of Harare's security apparatus carried out the seizure of opposition and civil society activists, lawyers defending the currently jailed activists said on Wednesday.

The lawyers said Mutasa signed an affidavit to the effect that the seizures or abductions as they have been characterized by the Movement for Democratic Change, dozens of whose members were abducted in recent months, were officially sanctioned.

Zimbabwe Peace Project Director Jestina Mukoko and more than 30 MDC activists are now in police hands facing charges they plotted to train militants in Botswana intending to mount a coup against the government of President Robert Mugabe. They were seized from their homes as of October, then were recently handed over to the police and charged.

MDC founder and prime minister designate Morgan Tsvangirai issued an ultimatum Dec. 19 demanding a halt to the abductions and the release of all abducted persons failing which his party's national council would deliberate terminating the power-sharing process which was launched Sept. 15 with a political accord but which quickly became stalled.

Attorneys for the detained activists earlier asked the high court to order police to name the persons who handed over the missing activists. The lawyers said Mutasa in his affidavit refused to divulge those names citing national security concerns.

Alec Muchadehama, one of the defenders in the group case, told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that a motion for bail will be heard on Friday.

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