Zimbabwe government continues harassment of NGOs. The new year hasn’t brought a new attitude to the Zimbabwe government about human rights and freedom of expression, if the recent harassment of ZimRights is anything to go by. Read this statement from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR):
Police charge Machisa with publishing falsehoods as government steps up onslaught against NGOs
Zimbabwean police on Monday 14 January 2013 charged Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) Director, Okay Machisa with publishing falsehoods, fraud and forgery as authorities intensify the onslaught against non-governmental organisations.
Machisa will be a guest in the police cells of the coalition government of President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai after detectives at the Law and Order Section at Harare Central Police Station detained him at Rhodesville Police Station following the recording of a warned and cautioned statement from him.
The police charged Machisa with contravening Section 31 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act for allegedly publishing or communicating false statements prejudicial to the State. The ZimRights director was also charged with committing fraud and forgery in contravention of Section 136 and 137 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act. Faith Mamutse, who is employed as a secretary at ZimRights was released after the police interrogated and recorded a statement from her.
Machisa, who is also the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition chairperson handed himself to the police on Monday morning, accompanied by his lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, who is a member of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR). The police also raided and searched the ZimRights head office in Harare, where Mtetwa and Gift Mtisi, another ZLHR member lawyer were present during the search.
Meanwhile, ZimRights programme manager Leo Chamahwinya and three others, who were arrested in a raid on the ZimRights offices last year, remain in police custody, with their bail appeal having been denied last week.