May 27, 2019
Zimbabwean authorities have this afternoon arrested two more human rights defenders at the Harare airport in a mounting onslaught on the rights to freedom of expression and association, Amnesty International said today.
The two, Stabile Dewah (35) and Rita Nyamupinga (61), bring to seven the number of human rights defenders arrested at Robert Mugabe International Airport in the past seven days as they returned from a capacity-building workshop on non-violent protest tactics in the Maldives.
“The first five human rights defenders arrested are facing trumped up charges for exercising their human rights. They should be released immediately and unconditionally. The charges against them fit into a much wider pattern of repression we have documented in Zimbabwe,” said Muleya Mwananyanda, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Southern Africa.
The first batch of activists – George Makoni, Tatenda Mombeyarara, Gamuchirai Mukura, Nyasha Mpahlo and Farirai Gumbonzvanda – have been accused of “plotting to overthrow President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government”. The two activists arrested today are also likely to be charged with subverting a constitutional government.
“Since January’s protests we have witnessed a mounting crackdown on human rights defenders and activists. Lawyers, journalists and even medical doctors have not been spared. Zimbabwe’s authorities have declared anyone who exercises their right to freedom expression and association an enemy of the state. This witch-hunt must stop,” said Muleya Mwananyanda.