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United States Gravely Concerned by Detentions, Human Rights Abuses in Zimbabwe

FILE: Military tanks patrol in Harare following demonstrations by opposition party supporters in the capital, Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018. Gunfire, tear gas, and burning cars disrupted Harare’s streets Wednesday as armed riot police and army troops clashed with rock-throwing opposition supporters, protesting delays in announcing the results of Monday’s presidential election, the first after the fall of longtime leader Robert Mugabe. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

The United States government says it is gravely concerned by credible reports of numerous detentions, beatings, and other abuses of Zimbabweans over the past week, particularly targeting opposition activists.

In a statement, U.S State Department spokesperson Heather Nuaert said there should be no role for violence, intimidation, or harassment in the new Zimbabwe.

“We are also deeply concerned that Zambia chose to hand over former Minister of Finance Tendai Biti to the Zimbabwean authorities, and in the face of a reported Zambian court order blocking his expulsion from Zambia.

“This decision is particularly disheartening given the courage that Zambia showed in sheltering thousands of Zimbabwean freedom fighters from Rhodesian aggression in the days of Zimbabwe’s independence struggle. We will be discussing this matter with Zambia’s leaders and reviewing certain aspects of our cooperation with the Zambian government.”

The United States said the Government of Zimbabwe is now responsible for Tendai Biti’s safety and welfare.

“We call on Zimbabwe’s leaders to guarantee Mr. Biti’s physical safety and ensure his constitutional and human rights are respected, consistent with the rule of law and Zimbabwe’s international obligations and commitments. In Washington, the United States has convoked the ambassadors of both Zimbabwe and Zambia to register our gravest concerns.

“While Zimbabwe had a historic opportunity to move the country toward a brighter future for all its citizens, an electoral process marred by violence that does not respect constitutional rights and procedures is not a step toward that future.”

President Donald Trump has just signed into law the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Amendment Bill, in an attempt to pave the way for a new democratic nation based on holding free, fair, credible and transparent elections and related issues.

America and its allies imposed targeted sanctions on Zanu PF officials following claims of election rigging and human rights violations.

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