Zimbabwean opposition officials abducted from hospital

Nine Zimbabwean opposition activists have been abducted from hospital, apparently by state security agents aided by prison officials, their lawyer claimed Sunday.

Zimbabwean opposition officials abducted from hospital

Nine Zimbabwean opposition activists have been abducted fromhospital, apparently by state security agents aided by prison officials, theirlawyer claimed Sunday.

The opposition members were hospitalised on Saturday for injuriessuffered after a police crackdown in the capital Harare last week.

"The guys were abducted last night from hospital around 2300 GMT bystate security agents," said Alec Muchadehama, a lawyer for the mainopposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

"They were taken from the wards without any hospital discharge cards oranything to say they have been released.

"We understand the guys who took them were also accompanied by prisonofficials."

There was no immediate reaction from the authorities.

Nine opposition activists due to be charged with attempted murderand illegal weapons possession in Harare all required medical attention forinjuries sustained in custody, according to doctors.

Medical treatment

Oneactivist collapsed in the courthouse and the judge agreed to adjourn Saturday'shearing and allow them to get medical treatment, officials said.

Thedetainees were taken to private medical facilities under police guard.

Attorneysfor the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) have sought a courtruling ordering the activists' immediate release.

Lawyers believe the activists could face additional chargesrelating to terrorism that carry much harsher sentences of life imprisonment orthe death penalty under the nation's sweeping security laws.

Beating 'deserved'

Robert Mugabe, the Zimbabwepresident, confirmed earlier this week that Morgan Tsvangirai, theopposition leader, had been assaulted, and that he deserved it.

He told supporters the day after returning from a regionalsummit in Tanzania:"Yes, I told them he was beaten but he asked for it."

Tsvangirai's arrest and subsequent assault on March 11while trying to attend an anti-government rally was widely condemnedby the West.

But the SADC summit, which was meant to address the crisis inZimbabwe,ended up with a statement of "solidarity" with the 83-year-oldMugabe's government.

Mugabe chosen

Mugabe has been chosen by his ruling Zimbabwe African NationalUnion Patriotic-Front (Zanu-PF) party to stand again as its candidate in2008 presidential elections.

The decision was taken on Friday after a Zanu-PFcentral committee session in Harareand came despite growing opposition to Africa'soldest leader.

The opposition MDC called the decision a"tragedy" for the country, saying Mugabe had already mismanaged thecountry for 27 years.

TendaiBiti, the party's secretary-general, said: "This country will not move solong as Mugabe is there."

"It'salso a shame on Mugabe's part. After mismanaging the country for 27 years, henow wants to stand for another five years."


Mugabewas endorsed by the central committee despite being widely blamed for thepolitical and economic crisis in Zimbabwe.

NathanShamuyarira, the party spokesman, said: "The candidate for the party in2008 will be the president himself. He was endorsed by the centralcommittee."

PriscillaMisihairambwi-Mushonga, secretary-general of the faction, said: "Theleadership of the ruling party has failed this country and they will have toexplain this to future generations of what they did."

SeanMcCormack, a USstate department spokesman, called the decision "sad" and"outrageous", adding that "we hope better for the Zimbabweanpeople".

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16