Student leaders,juveniles,journo arrested in fresh crackdown of HRDs

ZIMBABWEAN authorities on Friday 26 February 2021 arrested student
leaders, juveniles and a journalist in a fresh crackdown on human
rights defenders.

First to be arrested by Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) members, were
three students namely Richard Paradzayi, Paidamoyo Masaraure and Leam
Kanengoni, who were apprehended at Harare Magistrates Court on
allegations of unnecessary movement.
Paradzayi, Masaraure and Kanengoni, who are represented by Tinashe
Chinopfukutwa of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), were
detained at Harare Central Police Station.

ZRP members also arrested Kumbirai Mafunda, a freelance journalist
inside Harare Magistrates Court, where he was covering the appearance
in court of pro-democracy campaigner Makomborero Haruzivishe and
accused him of practising journalism without accreditation from
Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC).

The five police officers who arrested Mafunda and detained him
together with Paradzayi, Masaraure and Kanengoni at a police post
located at Harare Magistrates Court, refused to accept representations
by the freelance journalist and his lawyers Obey Shava, Kossam Ncube
and Jeremiah Bamu to the effect that law enforcement officers and
other stakeholders should accept ZMC accreditation cards issued to
media practitioners in 2019 and 2020 as the media regulatory body
failed to undertake its national accreditation outreach programme in
2020 owing to the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic.

Mafunda, who was taken to Harare Central Police, was only released
without charges preferred against him after his lawyers, who also
included Tinomuda Shoko and Idirashe Chikomba, made representations to
Chief Superintendent Oscar Mugomeri, the ZRP Officer Commanding Harare
Central District regarding the status of accreditation of journalists
and who ordered the release of the freelance journalist.

ZRP members also arrested Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU)
leaders who include Tafadzwa Ngadziore and Tapiwa Chiriga among
others. The ZINASU leaders are represented by Chinopfukutwa and Bamu.

Earlier on Thursday 25 February 2021, ZRP members arrested Edmond
Chimwene at Harare Magistrates Court and detained him at Harare
Central Police for allegedly staging a one-man demonstration at Harare
Magistrates Court, where he wore a t-shirt inscribed with words such
as “Marxist for Life”, “Justice for All”, “Peace” and “Freedom”.
Chimwene is represented by Bamu and Chinopfukutwa of ZLHR.

In Chitungwiza, ZRP members arrested five juveniles and eight adult
residents, who were detained for about five hours at Town Centre
Police Station, where they were charged with committing public
violence after law enforcement agents alleged that they were part of a
group of people who allegedly attacked police officers who wanted to
arrest a bar and restaurant owner for breaching national lockdown
regulations.

In their defence, the juveniles, who are represented by Freddy
Masarirevu of ZLHR, said they were just picked up by police officers
who knocked and conducted a door to door search for all male persons
while others said they were arrested while fetching water at a
community borehole.

The juveniles, who were later released following Masarirevu’s
intervention are expected to appear at Chitungwiza Magistrates Court
on Saturday 27 February 2021.