Zimbabwe uses laws and beatings by security forces to suppress human rights activists in the southern African nation ahead of elections planned for next year, the Associated Press reported on Monday quoting a report.
As published by our top partner Radio VoP
The report by the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders comes as President Robert Mugabe is pushing for constitutional amendments that will allow for elections to end his Zanu-PF party's uneasy coalition government with the nation's main opposition party. That has some worried that Zimbabwe could experience the same repression and violence seen in its 2008 election, in which at least 163 people were killed and some 5,000 were tortured or beaten.
"These stories paint a very, very gloomy picture about the situation of human rights defenders in Zimbabwe," said Thomas Sibusiso Masuku, a former high court judge in Swaziland who contributed to the report.
The report highlights the struggles of several activists in Zimbabwe, mostly targeted by security forces and allegedly arrested for flimsy causes. One activist was detained for weeks and questioned about her work after police took her into custody saying her car was allegedly near the scene of a killing, according to the report. Another activist who was investigating abuses around Zimbabwe's diamond region was repeatedly harassed, it said.
Read the full story here.