Saturday, February 14, 2009

**UPDATES ON ROY BENNETT**......15/02/09

The Mutare numbers to call are +263 (0)20 64212 for the main charge office in Mutare
This cell number, we believe, is for the man in charge: +263 (0)91301  1761
CIO: +263 (0)20 66314 and +263 (0)20 61102
CID: +263 (0)20 65645
Please call (or sms the cell) these numbers to let the police holding Roy Bennett know that the world is watching very closely and want Roy Bennett to be released immediately. Tell them you will continue to monitor the situation closely, and that you are conveying your concerns to your local MP and the government in your country.

Ask them to observe the rule of law, and to treat Roy Bennett  with dignity and respect.
If the person you are speaking to appears to be listening, keep talking, and ask him/her to carry a message to Roy Bennett to let HIM know you are watching over him from all over the world.
If they pretend they don’t know what you are talking about, or claim it is not a police station, keep talking and make sure you convey your message.

Please be calm and measured and polite. No matter how angry you are by the outrageous actions, it won’t help Roy Bennett if you lose your temper.

Please let me know how you got on via the comments.


12 February 2009: Three of the most seriously ill political detainees were finally given proper unrestricted access to medical doctors on Thursday, but were forced back to prison. Civic leader Jestina Mukoko, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s former aide Ghandi Mudzingwa, and 72-year old MDC activist Fidelis Chiramba were taken to the Avenues Clinic, where they were seen by two doctors – from the state, and the private sector.

But despite both doctors agreeing that the three should be hospitalised, they were still sent back to Chikurubi Maximum Prison early Thursday evening.

Irene Petras from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), who was at the Avenues clinic, said both the state and the private doctor had recommended that the detainees needed to stay in hospital but there were ‘instructions’ that the three should be returned to jail.

She said the victims have suffered many injuries, from the time they were abducted and while being held incommunicado in detention. Their condition had deteriorated because they had not received adequate medical treatment while in jail.

**Update via MDC Press Release  - Police change charges yet again : Sunday, 11:25**
Police in Mutare have yet again changed charges against MDC Treasurer General and Deputy Minister of Agriculture designate, Roy Bennett. He has now been charged under Section 61 of the notorious, colonial, Apartheid type law, Public Order and Security Act (POSA)-conspiring to acquire arms with a view to disrupting essential services.

These charges have long been discredited and shown to be fictious. Clearly they are on a fishing expedition, clutching at straws and know fully well that there is no basis, even suspicion, at law to charge Roy Bennett. All these charges are politically motivated, driven by a vindictive and malicious political vendetta against Roy Bennett and the people of Zimbabwe who at this stage want the Inclusive government to get down to the real work of creating conditions for economic recovery and dismantling institutions of dictatorship, rather than attending to the egos of man and women who do not want to accept that change in Zimbabwe is inevitable.

As Roy Bennett himself has stated a Zimbabwe of “peace, freedom and democracy in our life time” is possible.

As we have stated consistently, apartheid and fascist laws such as POSA (and Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act) must be repealed. They are draconian legislation. A democratic Zimbabwe has no space for such repressive colonial legislation.
Roy Bennett must be released unconditionally and unharmed.

MDC Manicaland Provincial leadership, MDC members and ordinary Zimbabweans of all walks of life spent their second night at and around the police station, keeping a watchful eye. Police had intended to move Roy Bennett to a location they have refused to disclose.
Roy Bennett is in good spirits and says inmates in his over crowded cell have befriended him and have treated him well and with encouragement.

Update via AFP - Treason charges dropped : Sunday, 11:05

The treason charges against Zimbabwe ministerial nominee Roy Bennett have been dropped but replaced with attempt to commit terrorism, banditry and sabotage, his lawyer said on Sunday.

**Update via MDC Press Release - Lawyers granted access - the vigil will be maintained tonight: 19:25**

Lawyers representing MDC Treasurer General and Deputy Minister of Agriculture designate, Roy Bennett have been granted access to their client, Roy Bennett.

They reported that Roy Bennett is strong, solid and resolute. He sends his message to all to remain unwaveringly dedicated to the cause of a just, peaceful, prosperous and democratic Zimbabwe. “Whatever these challenges, if we remain unwaveringly dedicated, we will achieve peace, freedom and democracy in our life time-believe me,” he said.

Lawyers say the police are now saying they cannot lay formal charges for now, and will try and work out formal charges on Monday. This clearly indicates that the treason charges are scandalous, frivolous, vexatious and have no basis in law, but are simply politically motivated. These charges have been long discredited and have been shown, like all treason charges leveled against MDC leadership, to be driven by vindictive political motives.

We demand Roy Bennett’s immediate unconditional release unharmed. The Treasurer General and Deputy Minister of Agriculture designate needs to get to work with the collective leadership to deliver on their mandate to providing food, jobs, education and health to all Zimbabweans, responsibilities we have no doubt he will discharge with distinction.

Assistant Commissioner Mabunda and Chiminda Nahu from the Law and Order Section, both reported to have a direct ear with Robert Mugabe, are some of the people behind the arrest of Roy Bennett.
MDC Manicaland Provincial leadership and hundreds of MDC supporters and ordinary Zimbabweans of all walks of life are still gathered around the police station. The Provincial leadership of the MDC have indicated that they will spend their second night outside and around the police station.

They will hold a night vigil surrounding the police station to ensure that Roy Bennett is not secretly removed to a place police are refusing to disclose. They will continue to monitor the situation and provide moral support, as Roy Bennett has been informed of their presence.

Heavily armed police are patrolling the police station, but the situation is calm.
The inclusive government must get down to serious business of addressing the humanitarian crisis, create conditions for economic recovery and dismantle institutions of dictatorship. Abducting, arresting and detaining Roy Bennett, Jestina Mukoko and other human rights activists is against the spirit and letter of the Global Political Agreement and does not give confidence to the Inclusive government and the healing which the country desperately needs. All political prisoners must be released and all parties to the Inclusive government must conduct themselves in a manner that gives confidence to the process we have started.

Alert: Roy Bennett Arrested (updated 14:23)

* Latest update at the top.
Update from the MDC - Military Intelligence behind Roy Bennett arrest - 14:23

Via Press release - It is understood that the abduction, arrest and charging of MDC Treasurer General and Deputy Minister of Agriculture designate Roy Bennett is being planned, directed and operationalised by the Zimbabwe Military Intelligence Directorate (MID), led by one Mzilikazi, and the Special Agency SAS, the torture unit of the army, led by one Manene . General Constantine Chiwenga is also party to it. These people are known for their declared passionate and fanatical hatred of Roy Bennett.

We are also aware of an intent to dump Roy Bennett into Chivero river.

It is futile and ill-considered for anyone to go against the very momentum of history. Change in Zimbabwe is inevitable. Bravado akin to ridding on top of a hungry lion in a time of unprecedented famine, hoping to remain in control of both lion and the natural process of weather is illogical. Any harm on Roy Bennett will be placed squarely on those responsible.
We demand the unconditional release of Roy Bennett unharmed so that he can attend to his normal duties in the party, in government and to his family.

The real issues are creating conditions for economic recovery and dismantling institutions of dictatorship. This is what all parties to the Inclusive government should be focusing on.
Another vehicle which is part of the operation is a Toyota Hilax with registration number ABD1317
In an earlier release, the MDC said:
State-interrogators from Harare are making their way to Mutare where MDC Treasurer General and Deputy Minister Agriculture designate, Roy Bennett, was being held. They said that lawyers representing Roy Bennett have been told that they can only see him at 1600hrs.

Update - the  MDC have issued a retraction:  11:22
MDC Mutare Brian James has NOT been arrested. He’s fine and taking part in the vigil.
Update via MDC Press Release:  10:38
MDC Mutare Mayor Brian James who spent the night at Mutare police station, and attempted to give food to MDC Treasurer General and Deputy Minister of Agriculture designate Roy Bennett has been arrested at the same police station where Roy Bennett is being held.
Update: Saturday morning

MDC Press Release - Police detaining MDC Treasurer General and Deputy Minister of Agriculture designate, Roy Bennett have denied him food. MDC Mutare Mayor Brian James and MDC Manicaland Provincial leadership have unsuccessfully tried to negotiate with police to allow them to give him food.
Hundreds of MDC supporters and members spent the night outside Mutare police station where Roy Bennett is being held, demanding his release. They have also been keeping a watchful eye on all movements around the police station to make sure that police do not remove Roy Bennett from the Mutare police station to one of the torture and interrogation bases in Marondera or Goromonzi as police had attempted to do earlier in the day. The police station is heavily guarded by armed police.
After intially charging Roy Bennett with attempting to leave the country illegally, police have now charged him with treason.
Its is understood that the Chief State prosecutor is making his way to Mutare.


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