EU To Support GALZ

“As a matter of fact we are giving legal support to the affected members of this organisation. The European Union condemns in strongest terms the harassment and intimidation of all human rights defenders who are engaging in social or political rights.

“Our concern is more in the sense that the incidence of 11thof August was followed by further intimidation and harassments to this organisation”, European Union Ambassador to Zimbabwe Aldo Dell’Ariccia told Radio VOP in Harare.

“We are concerned that this is happening during the constitution making process and where there is preparation for the holding of a democratic election.”

Police on Thursday initiated a process to shut down the offices of the Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ) after charging a representative of the organisation for running an “unregistered” organisation.

Detectives at the Law and Order Section at the Harare Central Police Station said GALZ, is running an “unregistered” organisation in contravention of Section 6 (iii) of the Private Voluntary Organisation (PVO) Act.

The charges come after a weeklong of raiding the organisation’s offices where the police confiscated computers, laptops memory sticks and fliers looking for incriminating evidence.

Tonderai Bhatasara of Mupanga Bhatasara Attorneys representing GALZ told Radio VOP in Harare Friday that his clients are innocent.

“We are challenging the charges which they have pressed against our clients because they have been there for more than 10 years operating under the common law. But the police are saying they are supposed tobe registered under the PVO Act.

 “It is not an offence to be gay under the Zimbabwean constitution but if one man sodomises another man then it becomes an offence. It is only intolerance within the society and political leadership here in Zimbabwe which has made the vilification of gays and lesbians not that it is an offence to be gay,” he said.

Last month, the police summoned Abel Chikomo, the executive director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, to stand trial at the Harare Magistrates Court after charging him with running an “unregistered” organisation in contravention of the PVO Act.

However, the trial did not commence after State, withdrew summons issued against Chikomo and advised him to proceed by way of summons.