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Zimbabwe lawyers allege activist was abducted

11 March 2015, 15:03

Harare - Human rights lawyers in Zimbabwe on Tuesday filed a court application seeking the release of an activist they suspect was abducted by state agents.

Itai Dzamara, leader of a movement called Occupy Africa Unity Square, has been missing since Monday morning and that his family and associates have no idea of the activist's whereabouts, the lawyers said.

Dzamara and associates have been staging sit-ins in a popular city square calling for democratic reforms and President Robert Mugabe's resignation.

A member of his organization, Charles Nyoni, said Dzamara was abducted by five men while having a haircut at a barbershop in Harare, Zimbabwe's capital.

Police spokeswoman Charity Charamba said she has not yet received a full briefing on the case.

Also read: Mugabe neighbour fined over roaming dogs

Amnesty International urged the Zimbabwean government to investigate Dzamara's disappearance and ensure his safety. Another rights group, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, said the reported abduction violated Zimbabwe's new constitution, which it said guarantees freedom from torture or cruel and degrading treatment or punishment.

Zimbabwean lawyers Kennedy Masiye and Charles Kwaramba said they assisted the activist's wife in filing a missing person report with the police.

"We went to the scene of the abduction with Dzamara's wife and the police for inspection as part of police investigations," said Masiye, a lawyer with Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, a non-governmental organization. A court application seeks to compel whoever is holding Dzamara to hand him over to the court, which should then determine the legality of his detention, he said.

- AP


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