A statement circulated by Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ)
Acquittal of Ellen Chademana: 210 days to triumph!
The long awaited judgment in the Ellen Chademana case was delivered today 16 December 2010 exactly 210 days after her arrest on 21 May 2010. Chademana appeared before Harare Magistrate Don Ndirowei who acquitted her on charges of allegedly possessing pornographic pictures thereby contravening section 26(1) of the Censorship and Entertainment Control Act (Chapter10:04).
GALZ welcomes the acquittal of Ellen as a victory for human rights defenders in Zimbabwe working on ensuring that the rights of minorities and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and Intersex people in Zimbabwe are protected. LGBTI human rights defenders continue to experience harassment and Intimidation from police authorities in Zimbabwe. The environment continues to be hostile for human rights defenders.
On the eve of this Judgement, two police details visited the GALZ offices and demanded entry into the premises by threatening the security personnel present with arrest if they do not get access. This is clearly Intimidation and harassment by the Police clearly abusing authority to undermine minorities and an attempt to silence the Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe.
We call on the Police to acknowledge the role of all human rights defenders by putting an end to their harassment and ensuring protection and security of all human rights defenders.
Charges levelled against Chademana arose when police armed with a search warrant On May 21 2010 ransacked the GALZ offices alleging that the organisation was in possession of dangerous drugs and pornographic material. She was subsequently arrested and detained for seven days together with a colleague Ignatius Mhambi, who was also facing similar charges but was also acquitted.