First UA: 76/19 Index: AFR 46/0450/2019 Zimbabwe

Date: 31 May 2019

URGENT ACTION
SEVEN ACTIVISTS ARRESTED, CHARGED WITH TREASON
Seven activists, arrested on different dates, are facing charges of treason after they
attended a training organised by the Center for Non-Violence Action and Strategies
(CANVAS) in the Maldives. Five of the activists have already appeared in court and are
remanded in custody until 6 June. The offence ‘subverting a constitutional government’
carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison. These arrests are part of an ongoing
crackdown on human rights defenders, activists and opposition members in the country
and are an attempt by the government to stifle peaceful protest over the recently
implemented austerity measures.
TAKE ACTION: WRITE AN APPEAL IN YOUR OWN WORDS OR USE THIS MODEL LETTER
President Emmerson Mnangagwa
Munhumutapa Building
Corner Sam Nujoma / Samora Machel
Harare, Zimbabwe
Email: info@opc.gov.zw
Your Excellency President Mnangagwa,
I am concerned with the arbitrary arrest and trumped up charges against George Makoni, Tatenda Mombeyarara,
Gamuchirai Mukura, Nyasha Mpahlo, Farirai Gumbonzvanda, Sitabile Dewa and Rita Nyamupinga.
All seven activists have been charged with ‘subverting a constitutional government’ under Section 22 (2) of Criminal
Law (Codification and Reform Act) which attracts a sentence of more than 20 years in prison for attending a training
on civic engagement, advocacy and communications in the Maldives from 15 – 17 May. These human rights
defenders are being persecuted simply for attending a training on non-violent activism.
I am also worried about the ongoing government crackdown on human rights defenders, activists and opposition
members. Since the January 2019 protest, authorities continue to intimidate and harass activists, and threaten the
rights to freedom of association, peaceful assembly and expression to silence any dissent.
Your Excellency, you have an opportunity to ensure that the government breaks away from the past by ensuring the
authorities promote and protect human rights.
I call on you to:
 Ensure that charges against seven activists are dropped immediately;
 Ensure the immediate and unconditional release of all prisoners of conscience detained solely for
peacefully exercising their human rights;
 Ensure an end to the crushing of dissent through judicial persecution of human rights defenders, activists
and opposition members perceived to be opponents of the ruling party in Zimbabwe;
 Ensure respect for the rights to freedom of association, peaceful assembly and expression as enshrined in
the Constitution and human rights treaties to which Zimbabwe is a state party.
Yours sincerely,

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