*** The views expressed in the articles published on this website DO NOT necessarily express the views of the Commercial Farmers' Union. ***
CSU workers bailed after “illegal”transfer to Bulawayo
By Tererai Karimakwenda
08 November 2012
The three employees from the Counselling Services Unit (CSU) in Harare,
arrested on Monday after police raided their offices, were on Thursday
released on bail by a Bulawayo magistrate.
Fidelis Mudimu, Zachariah Godi and Tafadzwa Gesa had been “illegally”
transferred from Harare to Bulawayo on Wednesday, without any charges
specified against them. The trio were reportedly transported in the back of
an open pickup truck, exposed to the blazing sun.
The bail was granted after they were detained much longer than the 48-hour
period stipulated by law for police to either charge or release suspects.
Lawyers said their transfer and continued detention in Bulawayo was illegal.
According to the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), the three were
being held under a fresh detention order that was written and signed in
Harare. The bail conditions they received Thursday include a $500 fine and
surrendering their passports.
CSU has no offices in Bulawayo, where the police allege that the accused
defaced some property using spray paint.
CSU director, Frances Lovemore, told SW Radio Africa police found three
small cans of spray paint in their Harare offices, which are used to mark
the separate areas of the office, in compliance with environmental health
Lovemore explained that the CSU provides a non-partisan service to victims
traumatised by political violence and torture. But their service was
disrupted on Monday when the riot squad surrounded their building and
threatened to fire teargas.
“The tragedy was that many people at our offices had travelled far and from
outside Harare to receive treatment. But they were kept waiting inside the
building for four hours, without food or water,” Lovemore said.
CSU managed to reopen their offices and restore full service on Tuesday.
In a statement Wednesday the global rights watchdog, Amnesty International,
condemned the arrest of the CSU employees. Amnesty’s southern Africa
director, Noel Kututwa, said: “This flagrant bullying and intimidation of
human rights defenders in Zimbabwe must end.”
He added that Amnesty, “believes the unlawful detention of the three men is
part of a pattern of systematic harassment and intimidation of civil society
by the government, as it attempts to stifle dissent ahead of elections in