US condemns arrest of protest clergymen

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HARARE – The United States yesterday said it was extremely concerned by the continuing deterioration of the human rights situation in Zimbabwe after the “unwarranted arrest” and continued detention of Evan Mawarire and the incarceration of Phillip Patrick Mugadza.        


“We fear these recent actions will further limit the right of Zimbabweans to exercise their Constitutionally-protected freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly, which are similarly protected under Zimbabwe’s international human rights obligations, and are core values of any functioning democracy,” the embassy said in a statement.


The case of two activist clergymen, Mawarire and Mugadza — who are both languishing in prison for expressing dissenting views against President Robert Mugabe and his warring Zanu PF — has sent a chilling signal to any free thinkers in the church.


The US government called on the government to respect the rule of law and legal due process provided by the Constitution, the basic right to freedom of speech and to respect the human rights of all citizens enshrined in the charter.


“We believe that the basic right of Zimbabweans to freedom of speech — be it in public, through print media, or social media — should be protected within and outside Zimbabwe’s borders.”

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