Zimbabwe: Campaign to intimidate and threaten leaders of social justice movement
Amnesty International has today called on authorities in Zimbabwe to end the harassment of Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu, the two leaders of the social justice movement Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights of Zimbabwe Arise, commonly known as WOZA.
Since WOZA staged its ninth annual Valentine’s Day peaceful protest in Bulawayo, the police have returned repeatedly to the homes of Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu in an attempt to find them. After questioning a human rights lawyer about the whereabouts of Jenni and Magodonga, one police officer is reported to have said that the two Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights must ‘prepare themselves for a long detention.’
Despite this threat, no reason has as yet been given for the search – raising fears that the two could be arbitrarily arrested and detained.
On 28 February, seven WOZA and Men of Zimbabwe Arise (MOZA) members were arrested in Bulawayo and detained for two days. While in custody, the activists were allegedly tortured using a method known as falanga, in which victims are beaten on the soles of their feet. They were also repeatedly asked for details of the whereabouts of Jenni and Magodonga.
Amnesty International’s Country Campaigns Manager, Kristyan Benedict said:
“Jenni and Magodonga are no strangers to persecution by the police in Zimbabwe. And given the recent increase in systematic targeting of human rights activists across the country which has included numerous arrests, unlawful detentions and even alleged acts of torture, there’s even greater reason to fear for the safety of these Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights.
“We’re urging the Zimbabwean authorities to put an end to these dreadful acts of repression immediately and to put a stop to shameful attempts to stop men and Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights demanding their human rights across Zimbabwe.”