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Honored by White House, Zimbabwean Activists Allege State Security Harassment

Members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)

Women of Zimbabwe Arise Co-Founders Magodonga Mahlangu and Jenni Williams said they are being harassed after being presented with the 2009 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award by President Obama

Zimbabwean state security agents have been harassing the co-founders of the activist group Women of Zimbabwe Arise following their recognition by U.S. President Barack Obama who presented them with the 2009 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award in a White House ceremony last month.

WOZA Co-Directors Magodonga Mahlangu and Jenni Williams said that since their return to Zimbabwe two weeks ago they have been closely followed by plain-clothes police and agents of Central Intelligence Organization.

Williams said that while the majority of Zimbabweans congratulated them for receiving the award, the security apparatus views them as a threat.

Williams and Mahlangu currently face charges of staging unsanctioned public demonstrations over economic and social issues affecting Zimbabweans.

In the past four days the two women have appeared several times in Bulawayo Magistrates Court to answer charges under Section 37 of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act. They have challenged the constitutionality of the law, but the Supreme Court has yet to rule in the matter.

WOZA attorney Kossam Ncube told VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube that court documents for the pending case against the two human rights activists have disappeared from the Office of the Attorney General in Bulawayo.

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