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Zimbabwe Police Arrest LGBT Advocates

Jim Burroway

May 25th, 2010

According to multiple news reports, Zimbabwean police have arrested two employees of the country’s only LGBT advocacy group, Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ). Local news reports already show us how the Zimbabwean government under President Robert Mugabe wants the world to see the arrests:

The police arrested two GALZ employees Ellen Chademana and Ignatius Muhambi, who were detained at Harare Central Police Station on Friday and were still in police custody Saturday.

The police accused GALZ of contravening Section 157 (1) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23 and Section 32 (1) of the Censorship and Entertainment Control Act Chapter 10:04 by allegedly keeping pornographic material and dangerous drugs.

As of Saturday, police had still refused to allow the two advocates access to lawyers. Chademana is diabetic and there are concerns for her health.

Pink News reports that the two are still in police custody. They were expected to be released on bail today, but new charges were leveled against them in court for “undermining the authority of the President,” according to their attorney, David Hofisi:

He added: “There was a plaque on the wall of the GALZ office with a declaration by Willy Brown Jnr, the [former] mayor of San Francisco, which denounced President Mugabe for his opposition to homosexuality. . . It also praised GALZ for its work.”

Apparently, that was the basis for the newest charge.

President Robert Mugabe’s government has a history of harassing lesbians and gays. He has attacked homosexuality as foreign to African culture, and famously described LGBT people as “worse than dogs and pigs.” Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who is the current Prime Minister under a contentious power-sharing agreement, have both rejected proposals to protect LGBT people in a new constitution that is currently being drafted.

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paul j stein
May 25th, 2010 | LINK

Time to boycott the diamond trade from Zimbabwe.

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