지난 4월 20일, 여성단체 ‘짐바브웨 여성이여 일어나라'(WOZA: Women of Zimbabwe Arise)의 활동가 4명이 짐바브웨 경찰 당국에 구금된 지 5일 만에 풀려났다. 국제앰네스티는 짐바브웨 정부에 활동가들에 대한 위협을 중단할 것과 평화적인 집회에 대한 권리 행사를 방해하지 말 것을 요구했다.
제니 윌리엄스(Jenni Williams), 마고동가 마흐랑구(Magodonga Mahlangu), 클라라 만젠과(Clara Manjengwa), 셀리나 마두카니(Celina Madukani)는 짐바브웨의 수도 하라레(Harare)에서 전기요금 상승 반대 시위에 참여했다 지난 15일 짐바브웨 경찰 당국에 체포됐다. 이들은 아무런 혐의 없이 5일 간 구금됐으며, 법무장관이 이들에 대한 기소를 거부함에 따라 최근 석방됐다.
국제앰네스티는 이들 활동가들의 석방을 환영하면서도, “짐바브웨 경찰이 인권 옹호자들을 방해하기 위해 법을 조직적으로 남용하는 상황”에 대한 우려를 나타냈다. 적법한 활동을 하는 인권 옹호자들에 대한 기소는 아프리카 인권 헌장(the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights) 제9조에 반하는 행위로, 지난 3월에도 짐바브웨 경찰은 짐바브웨 인권 연합(ZimRights) 오케이 마치사(Okay Machisa)국장과 예술인 오웬 마세코(Owen Maseko)를 체포한 바 있다.
국제앰네스티 시몬 마완자(Simeon Mawanza) 짐바브웨 조사관은 “독립된 지 30년이 지난 지금도 짐바브웨 활동가들은 여전히 괴롭힘과 공포와 위협에 맞서야 한다”며, 정치적이고 편파적인 단속을 계속하고 있는 짐바브웨 경찰 당국의 개혁을 요구했다.
Zimbabwean police must end intimidation of activists
Tuesday 20 April 2010 Amnesty International has urged the Zimbabwe police to end their intimidation of activists and stop preventing them from exercising their right to peaceful assembly. Amnesty International has urged the Zimbabwe police to end their intimidation of activists and stop preventing them from exercising their right to peaceful assembly.
The call came as four female activists arrested and kept in custody without charge for five days following a peaceful demonstration were released after the Attorney General’s office refused to prosecute them.
Jenni Williams, Magodonga Mahlangu, Clara Manjengwa and Celina Madukani, members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), were arrested on 15 April while attending a peaceful demonstration protesting rising electricity prices in the country’s capital Harare. They were arrested along with 61 others who were subsequently released.
“We welcome the release of the women activists, but are concerned about systematic abuse of the law by the police to frustrate human rights defenders engaging in peaceful protest,” said Simeon Mawanza Amnesty International’s Zimbabwe researcher.
“It is unacceptable that 30 years after independence, Zimbabwe’s activists still have to deal with ongoing harassment, fear and threats.”
Amnesty International calls on Zimbabwe’s Government of National Unity to halt on-going harassment of human rights defenders. Persecution of human rights defenders for their legitimate activities is a contravention of Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
Amnesty International has documented consistent politicised and partisan policing by members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), in particular the Law and Order section, aimed at silencing the voices of human rights defenders.
In March police arrested Mr Okay Machisa, the director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) and Owen Maseko, an artist, in separate incidents.
Owen was arrested and charged under the Public Order and Security Act after holding an exhibition on the atrocities committed by state security agents in the 1980s in Matabeleland. He was detained and later granted bail. Okay Machisa was forced to temporarily leave the country as a result of his arrest.
“The Zimbabwe Republic Police need reforming to end the culture of impunity that thrives especially within the Law and Order section. These cases are testimony to the need for such reforms if the Global Political Agreement is to deliver on peace and stability.”