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Zimbabwe: Petition to drop false charges against political activists

August 14, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following petition is being circulated in Australia. Please feel free to adapt the text for use in your country (e.g. insert details of your local Zimbabwe embassy and your own government's foreign ministry. For more detail on the case, see http://links.org.au/taxonomy/term/171. You can download a postcard version to send direct to Zimbabwe HERE.

International solidarity activities in February and March condemning the arrests were an important contribution to having the original charges of "treason" dropped and the comrades released on bail. But the campaign isn't over and the comrades are asking for any solidarity that can be extended to them on or before August 22. 

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To: Her Excellency Ms Jacqueline Nomhle Zwambila
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary for Zimbabwe
7 Timbarra Crescent,
O'Malley  2606
ACT, Australia
Fax: (02) 6290 1680

CC: Minister for Foreign Affairs (Australia)
PO Box 6022, Parliament House,
Canberra 2600, Australia
Fax: (02) 6273 4112

We, the undersigned, add our voice to the growing international condemnation of the arrest, torture and charging with “inciting public violence” (which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment) of Munyaradzi Gwisai, director of the Labor Law Centre, and five other civil society activists in Zimbabwe who were arrested on February 19 while meeting to watch video footage of democracy protests in Egypt and Tunisia. [They are Tafadzwa Choto and Tatenda Mombeyarara, trade unionist Edison Chakuma, debt rights activist Hopewell Gumbo and student leader Welcome Zimuto. David Mpatsi, one of the 45 activists originally charged with treason for attending the film screening, died following a rapid deterioration in his health while he was imprisoned and denied medical treatment.]

We support the statement by Bongani Masuku, International Relations Secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions, that the allegations against the detainees are baseless: it is outrageous that people can be charged simply because they attended a meeting to watch video footage that is freely available to the rest of the world via the internet.

We insist that the Zimbabwean government:

  • Drop all charges against those arrested on February 19.
  • Return all property confiscated during the raid on the meeting.
  • Uphold and respect the Zimbabwean people’s rights to freedom of speech, association and assembly, which are contained in Articles XII and XIX of the Global Political Agreement signed by Robert Mugabe on 15 September 2008.

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Please fax or post BEFORE AUGUST 22 to the Zimbabwean embassy in Australia (or in your own country).

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