Zimbabwean authorities must immediately and unconditionally release opposition leaders and a journalist and drop the malicious charges against them, Amnesty International said today as one of the three appeared in court for bail application.
Journalist Hopewell Chin’ono and opposition Movement for Democratic Change – Alliance (MDC-A) leader Job Sikhala and spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere, were arrested between 8 and 11 January on charges related to “publishing or communicating false statements prejudicial to the state”.
“The latest arrests of Hopewell Chin’ono, Job Sikhala and Fadzayi Mahere are part of a growing crackdown on opposition leaders, human rights defenders, activists, journalists and other critical voices. It is consistent with the constant harassment and intimidation that we have seen against anyone who demands respect for human rights, transparency, and accountability in Zimbabwe in the recent past,” said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southern Africa.
“Zimbabwean authorities must stop treating human rights with contempt and start tolerating dissenting views.”