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Britain considered putting prosecutor on sanctions list

Britain was considering adding state prosecutor Florence Ziyambi on the European Union sanctions list because she appeared to be the favourite for prosecuting high profile political cases.

Ziyambi was the prosecutor in Movement for Democratic Change secretary Tendai Biti’s treason case.

She was also the prosecutor in the case of detained MDC activists including human rights activist Jestina Mukoko.

The British embassy was reportedly holding off adding her to the sanctions list because one could argue that she was simply “doing her job.”

They were, however, investigating other allegations that she had corroborated with police to produce weak or fabricated evidence which might still land her on the EU list.

 

Full cable:


Viewing cable 09HARARE115, POLITICAL REPRESSION UPDATE

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

09HARARE115

2009-02-12 16:03

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO6502

OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0115/01 0431603

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 121603Z FEB 09 ZDS PER SVC RUEHSD #0064

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4034

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2624

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2746

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1223

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2015

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2371

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2795

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5223

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1916

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000115

 

C O R R E C T E D C O P Y (PARAGRAPH NUMBERS)

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B. WALCH

DRL FOR N. WILETT

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR E. LOKEN AND L. DOBBINS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/18/2018

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM KDEM ZI

SUBJECT: POLITICAL REPRESSION UPDATE

 

REF: A. HARARE 73

B. HARARE 60

C. HARARE 29

 

HARARE 00000115 001.2 OF 003

 

 

Classified By: Ambassador James D. McGee for reason 1.4(d).

 

——-

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (SBU) Even after Morgan Tsvangirai’s inauguration as Prime

Minister, political detainees including Jestina Mukoko and

approximately 29 others remain in State custody.

Encouragingly, on February 13 some were allowed access to a

private medical facility and Prime Minister Tsvangirai

attempted to visit abductees held at Chikurubi Maxium

Security prison. During a protest organized by Women of

Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) on February 10, police arrested eight

women and two lawyers who were nearby. Three were beaten by

an officer and all were released on bail on February 13. MDC

officials continue to face threats of arrest on unknown

charges and the USAID employee charged with shooting Air

Marshall Perence Shiri remains in custody. END SUMMARY.

 

——————————————— ————–

Political Detainees Still in Custody, Denied Medical Access

——————————————— ————–

 

2. (U) At least eight detainees were taken to Avenues Clinic,

a private hospital, on Friday February 6, in compliance with

multiple court orders calling on police and prison services

to grant them access to the private facility, a doctor of

their own choosing, and “whatever treatment is necessary.”

While two doctors examined and treated the group, prison

officials arrived at the prison and took them back to

Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison, against their doctors,

wishes. According to the doctors, several, including

72-year-old Fidelis Chiramba, require immediate medical

attention and hospitalization.

 

3. (SBU) In a court hearing on Monday February 9, the State

requested and was granted until Wednesday February 11 to

verify the detainees’ medical condition. In the same ruling,

Magistrate Gloria Takundwa also reiterated previous court

orders granting the detainees immediate access to whatever

medical care is deemed necessary at Avenues Clinic. On

Wednesday February 11, despite having had two days to

“verify” the detainees’ medical condition, Prosecutor

Florence Ziyambi said the state needed time to provide its

own medical practitioner, as the other doctors may have been

“biased.” Magistrate Takundwa denied Ziyambi’s request and

issued a new court order stating Jestina Mukoko, Fidelis

Chiramba, and three others should be immediately released

into the custody of a well-equipped hospital.

4. (C) (NOTE: Ziyambi is the State,s preferred prosecutor in

highly political cases. She has prosecuted Tendai Biti, WOZA

leaders, and other high profile political cases. Our

colleagues at the British embassy tell us they have discussed

adding her to the EU sanctions list, but are holding off

since one could argue she is simply “doing her job.” They

are investigating other allegations that she has corroborated

Qare investigating other allegations that she has corroborated

with police to produce weak or fabricated evidence which may

still land her on the EU list. END NOTE)

5. (U) Of the 32 persons abducted between late October and

mid-December, only three have been released to date:

two-year-old Nigel Mutemagau, Tawanda Bvumo, and Pascal

Gonzo. Another, Bothwell Pasapamire, escaped detention to

South Africa. Lawyers estimate 10 are still missing, and the

other 18 remain in custody.

 

6. (U) The next scheduled court hearing is February 16 to

review bail of the seven accused bombers (ref C). That group

 

HARARE 00000115 002.2 OF 003

 

 

includes Ghandi Mudzingwa, Tsvangirai’s former security

chief. (NOTE: This week Tsvangirai nominated Mudzingwa’s

father, Tichaona Mudzingwa, for Deputy Minister of Defense.

He is the only high-level MDC official that was in court on

either February 9 or 11. END NOTE.)

 

——————————

PM Tsvangirai visits Chikurubi

——————————

 

7. (SBU) On the afternoon of February 13, Tsvangirai visited

Chikurubi Maximum Security prison, where abductees are being

held, to observe prison conditions.

 

———————————

AID Driver’s Bail Hearing Delayed

———————————

 

8. (SBU) USAID Driver Frank Muchirahondo, who faces charges

of shooting Air Marshall Perence Shiri (refs A and B), was

scheduled to appear in the High Court on February 13 for a

bail hearing. His hearing was moved to February 19, as no one

could locate the prosecutor in the case. USAID staff

continue to visit Muchirahondo on a daily basis.

 

——————————————— —-

WOZA Women and Lawyers Arrested, Beaten, Released

——————————————— —-

 

9. (U) On Tuesday February 10, WOZA led their annual

Valentine,s Day protest march through the streets of Harare

under the theme “let love light the way.” The 600 women in

the march passed out roses and Valentine’s Day cards to

police and bystanders as they marched to the Parliament

building. During the march, eight WOZA protesters and two

human rights lawyers on the sidewalk near the march —

Tawanda Zhuwarara and Rose Hanzi — were arrested. The ten

were taken to Harare Central Police Station and thrown into

cells where police denied lawyers access to the group for

over 24 hours. After 48 hours in custody, the group was

released on bail.

10. (U) Three of the women were beaten by police in custody.

A pregnant woman was slapped after she refused a

plain-clothes policeman’s order to get into a vehicle because

she did not know he was an officer. Two others were beaten on

the soles of their feet by the same officer. The group of 10

face charges of disturbing the peace and is scheduled to

appear for a hearing on March 4. Separately, Williams and

fellow WOZA leader Magodonga Mahlangu are scheduled to face

trial on February 26 in Bulawayo on different charges of

disturbing the peace during previous WOZA protests in 2004

and 2008.

 

—————————————

MDC’s Roy Bennet Threatened with Arrest

—————————————

 

11. (C) Roy Bennet, the MDC’s nominee for Deputy Minister of

Agriculture, slept at the German Ambassador’s residence on

the night of February 10, following a tip-off that the police

had a warrant for his arrest. Earlier that evening, police

went to the residence of MDC-T MP Ian Kay and MDC Secretary

for Welfare Kerry Kay to look for him. Bennet plans to

remain in hiding until Friday, when ministers and deputy

Qremain in hiding until Friday, when ministers and deputy

ministers are due to be sworn in. There are reports that a

warrant is also out for the arrest of MDC co-Minister of Home

Affairs Mutsekwa, currently in the US on a Voluntary Visitor

Program.

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

 

HARARE 00000115 003.2 OF 003

 

 

12. (C) Despite pleas from international and regional leaders

(as well as Tsvangirai) to release the abductees, it appears

the State has no intention of giving them up any time soon.

We are encouraged that Tsvangirai chose to visit the prison

on his first day in office, which will help to allay fears

that he and the MDC will forget the detainees. If they

continue to languish in jail for much longer, however, many

will question the ability of the MDC to effectively work with

ZANU-PF officials and to act as an agent for change. The

attempt to arrest Bennet and the arrest and mistreatment of

WOZA members, at the same time Tsvangirai was being

inaugurated, belie good faith on the part of ZANU-PF in

forming part of a government of national unity. END COMMENT.

MCGEE

(30 VIEWS)

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