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Human Rights Workers Remain Locked up Month After Arrest

Civil society organizations are condemning the continued detention of four Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) members who were arrested three weeks ago for allegedly producing fake voter registration certificates.

Police raided the advocacy group’s offices in Harare on December 13 and seized Dorcas Shereni, Leo Chamahwina, Farai Bhani and Tatenda Chinaka, accusing them of conniving to discredit the state by producing a fogged voters’ register.

The plain-clothed police stormed the ZimRights headquarters in Harare’s Avenues area, alleging that the organization was carrying out the exercise ahead of elections expected this year.

The state has alleged that the group forged voter registration certificates "to tarnish the name of the Registrar-General."

The four have been denied bail by a magistrate and a High Court judge on the grounds that their crime is so serious they may abscond when released.

Chairman Effie Dlela Ncube of the National Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (NANGO) said the four activists are victims of the state’s crackdown on rights defenders.

Lawyer Trust Maanda, representing one of the Zimrights members told VOA that the court’s decision to deny the four bail is unwarranted.