Zimbabwe Police Raid Office of LGBT Advocacy Org

Jim Burroway

August 20th, 2012

The advocacy group Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ) reports that their offices in Harare have been raided by police. According to a brief statement:

Today at 1330 hours the Zimbabwe Republic Police came to the GALZ offices demanding entry. No members of staff were present at the time. No arrests have been made so far. The police have remained at the premises all afternoon and only produced a search warrant at 1830 hours.

Human rights lawyers have been present from 1530 hours and continuing engaging with the police officers. At the time of this alert, the police are still searching the offices in the presence of our lawyers. So far, as at 2100hours, we have been informed that the police intend to confiscate some booklets, pamphlets and computers from the offices that they have accessed so far.

According to a status update on Facebook, more than twenty police officers arrived in two trucks. This appears to be part of a larger crackdown on the LGBT advocacy group. Last Friday, GALZ reported that police were once again searching for 44 GALZ members who they arrested, beaten, then released without charge earlier in August. In a detailed report which has not been posted online, GALZ reported:

Four police officers attempted to gain entry into the GALZ premises shortly after the launch of the GALZ Violations Report and the briefieng of the Second Draft of the Zimbabwe Constitution done by the Crisis Coalition, advocacy committee Chairperson on Saturday 11 August 2012. About fifteen riot squad members descended on the office and effected arrest. Thirty one men and thirteen women members were detained overnight at Harare Central Police Station on 11 August 2012. Police, some of them visibly drunk, assaulted most of the members using baton sticks, open hands and clenched fists before detaining them without charge. Police denied lawyers access to all 44, however they released all 44 on Sunday 12 August without charge.

…Members were beaten, verbally abused, and were forced to assault each other. Transgender people were verbally abused and their gender questioned. …

In 2010, Zimbabwe police launched a raid on GALZ’s offices and arrested two employees. The offense: they had a signed photo and statement from former San Francisco mayor Willie Brown denouncing Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe’s stand on homosexuality and praising GALZ’s work. The two activists were held by police for six days before being released on bail. The activists allege that they were beaten and tortured by police while in custody. They were found not guilty of charges of possessing porn.

President Robert Mugabe’s government has a long history of homophobic policies. Mugabe has attacked homosexuality as foreign to African culture, and famously described LGBT people as “worse than dogs and pigs.” Homosexuality is illegal in Zimbabwe, with penalties of up to three years’ imprisonment for violating the nation’s colonial-era law.

Timothy (TRiG)

August 21st, 2012

Does Robert Mugabe have any redeeming features at all? Everything I’ve heard of him suggests he’s an utter thug.


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