The arrest of the officers came despite a court order granting Zimrights permission to proceed with the meeting which had been scheduled for Tshino area in Tsholotsho.
Zimrights officials told Radio Vop on Monday that the two officials, regional co-ordinator Florence Ndlovu and paralegal officer
Walter Dube, were arrested at a roadblock in Nyamandlovu, about 60 kilometres from Tsholotsho, on their way back to Bulawayo after police
in Tsholotsho had refused them permission to proceed with the ant-torture meeting despite brandishing a high court Order barring police from stopping the gathering.
Zimrights, through the regional officers gave notice to the police on the 17th of May informing them of their intention to hold the anti-torture meeting. The police denied them the opportunity to hold
the meeting and alleged that the subject of torture was out of line with Zimbabwean culture.
Lizwe Jamela of Zimbabwe Lawyers for human Rights filed an application arguing that the organisation was exempt from notifying the police under the provisions of Section 25 of the Public Order and Security
Act (POSA) since it was not a political gathering.
“What the police received was a notification and not a notice to seek authorisation. A court order was issued by Bulawayo Magistrate Ntombizodwa Mazhandu giving Zimrights officers the go-ahead to hold
the meeting stating that the organisation has the right to freedom of association and assembly as set out in Section 21 of the constitution and freedom of expression as guaranteed in Section 20 of the
constitution,” said Zimrights in a statement.
“ZimRights strongly condemns this unwarranted arrest and intimidation of its officers by the police. Apart from the fact that they had been notified prior to the meeting, the police have defied a court order
that was passed in favour of Zimrights to carry on with the meeting.
The antagonism to the court order is a clear indication that there is undeniable misinterpretation and abuse of POSA by security state agents to stifle the struggle towards restoration of human rights and
democracy,” read part of the Zimrights statement made available to VOP.
Police sources said the two were likely to be held in custody in a rural police station, possible Sipepa Police Station, about 70 kilometres from Tsholotsho Business Centre.