Tsvangirai due to appear in court

Zimbabwe's High Court has ordered that detained opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai should be brought to court on Tuesday or released.

Tsvangirai due to appear in court

Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change, is expected to appear in court as the government faces increased criticism over a brutal crackdown on opposition activists. Tsvangirai was allegedly badly beaten in detention and his lawyers say that they have been refused access to him.

A judge ruled on Monday night that Tsvangirai and scores of other opposition activists arrested on Sunday should be brought before the high court by lunchtime on Tuesday or else be freed.

Under the terms of the order, police were also meant to allow lawyers immediate access to their clients.
 

Alec Muchadehama, a Tsvangirai lawyer, said the police had refused to abide by the Zimbabwe High Court order.

"They said 'we don't care about the court order, we have our own structures where we take orders from'," he said.

"This is lawlessness. Now we are going to the court and wait for the police to bring them."
 

Morgan Tsvangirai was arrested with scores of other opposition activists on Sunday [File: AP]
 
 
Contempt of court

Eric Matinenga, another lawyer for Tsvangirai, said the police were in contempt of court and that they would return to the court on the matter.
 
The lawyers are also demanding that Tsvangirai receives urgent medical treatment for head wounds he is said to have sustained at the hands of the security services.

The activists were detained when police broke up a prayer meeting organised by a coalition of opposition, church and civic groups to address Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis. One man was killed.

Human rights groups said the MDC leader and some of the others had been tortured in custody.

Thokozani Khupe, deputy leader of the MDC, said on Monday that Tsvangirai had lost consciousness on three occasions during his detention and that his life had been in danger.
 
The lawyers are also demanding that Tsvangirai receives urgent medical treatment for head wounds he is said to have sustained at the hands of the security services.

The activists were detained when police broke up a prayer meeting organised by a coalition of opposition, church and civic groups to address Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis. One man was killed.

Human rights groups said the MDC leader and some of the others had been tortured in custody.

Thokozani Khupe, deputy leader of the MDC, said on Monday that Tsvangirai had lost consciousness on three occasions during his detention and that his life had been in danger.
The US condemned the "brutal and unwarranted" crackdown and called for the release of those in custody who "peacefully gathered to exercise their legitimate democratic rights".

Police round up suspected opposition supporters heading for the rally
Zimbabwe officials said the opposition had attacked police
"We hold President Robert Mugabe and the government of Zimbabwe accountable for the safety and well-being of those in custody," White House spokesman Sean McCormack said.

However, Zimbabwe's Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu told the BBC's Network Africa programme that the police had been attacked by opposition activists.

'Enforcing the law'

The government, however, shows no sign of softening its line.

"We are not going to be found wanting. We will enforce the law to its fullest. We expect people to adhere to the law," Kembo Mohadi, the home affairs minister, told the state-run Herald newspaper.

 
 
Agencies
Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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