A disturbing pattern of repression – says Amnesty International, demands release of detained opposition CCC leader, 78 activists

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By Staff Reporter

Human rights watchdog has said the arrest of opposition CCC leader Jameson Timba and 78 party activists is part of a “disturbing pattern of repression” and demanded their unconditional release.

The group was arrested on Sunday and charged with disorderly conduct and holding an unsanctioned meeting at Timba’s Avondale residence where they were commemorating the International Day of the African Child.

Among those arrested is a nursing mother who is detained with her baby, and a 17-year-old minor who has since been released to the custody of his parent.

Khanyo Farisè, Amnesty International’s deputy regional director for Southern Africa in a statement said, “The arrest and continued arbitrary detention of 77 opposition members who had peacefully gathered at a private residence is part of a disturbing pattern of repression against people exercising their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression.

“Zimbabwean authorities must immediately and unconditionally release these opposition members and drop all charges against them.”

She urged authorities to uphold Zimbabwe’s constitutional and international human rights obligations.

“Authorities must promptly, thoroughly, impartially, independently, transparently and effectively investigate allegations that some of those arrested were tortured while in police custody and bring to justice those suspected to be responsible.

“Authorities must also ensure those affected receive urgent medical attention.”