Zimbabwe: Detention and Treatment of Human Rights Defender Jestina Mukoko

Re: Detention and Treatment of Human Rights Defender Jestina Mukoko

To: President Robert G. Mugabe et al


Date: 2009-10-12

Further to our various letters to you over the past two years, we once again write concerning the case and situation of Jestina Mukoko and other persons detained and charged as a result of participations in peaceful demonstrations in Harare and elsewhere in Zimbabwe.

We understand that on September 28, 2009 the Constitutional Court permanently stayed the prosecution of Ms. Mukoko due to the serious violations of her rights which took place at the hands of your police and other government agents and forces. The Court found that her fundamental right to be free from torture had been violated by the state. Other persons who are still charged and whose cases are still before the Courts but who suffered similar forms of abuse and ill treatment are making applications for stays as well.

The evidence placed before, and the findings of, the Constitutional Court are both very serious. We accordingly call upon you and your government to ensure that the allegations of torture are carefully and thoroughly investigated by an agency which is independent of the perpetrators, and that any police officers or other government officials found to be responsible are charged with the appropriate crimes and dealt with according to law.

Furthermore, we call upon you to ensure that Ms. Mukoko and all other human rights defenders in Zimbabwe, whether in custody or not, are protected from harassment and intimidation of all types, and that their physical and psychological integrity is respected and guaranteed by your government. We remind you of your obligations pursuant to the conventions and agreements entered by your government, to protect and respect the human rights of all citizens, and to prevent retributions against human rights defenders who seek to advance and protect the rights of others.