Thursday, May 7, 2009

Another woman risking her life to make the world better

Zimbabwe: Human Rights Defenders Under Attack - Act Now!

"History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people".

Martin Luther King Jr.

Dear Friends,

Today the government of Zimbabwe rearrested Jestina Mukoko and 15 others on trumped up charges of "banditry, terrorism and insurgency". The arrest follows the appearance of Jestina and her comrades before a Harare Magistrate at which they were formally indicted remanded in custody.

We cannot be silent in the face of this outrageous attack on human rights defenders. The only crime committed by Jestina Mukoko, a long time civic leader in Zimbabwe and her co-accused is standing up against tyranny in Zimbabwe and speaking out in defense of human rights and democracy. As Martin taught us, it takes the silence of good people for abuses of this nature to persist. We call upon people of good conscience all over the world to add your voice in calling for the unconditional release of Jestina Mukoko and her comrades. Zimbabwe's compromised courts cannot be trusted to deliver justice to activists who have been targeted and victimized for their principled stand on human rights and democracy. There is no chance for these activists getting a fair trial under the unreconstructed judicial system in Zimbabwe.

State agents abducted Jestina and others back in October last year and they suffered torture and abuse in secret detention. Following loud protests from activists in Zimbabwe and around the world, Jestina and others surfaced form secret detention only to be released to the notorious Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison where they were held for two more months and only released on bail as part of a political deal by parties to Zimbabwe's new inclusive government. The re-arresting of Jestina Mukoko and other activists is a shame to the new inclusive government in Zimbabwe.

We call upon you to raise your voices again in support of these human rights defenders by taking the following actions:

1. Call the Zimbabwe Embassy to the U.S.: Phone number - +1 202 332-7100
- and register your protest at the detention and ill-treatment of these human rights defenders and demand their immediate release.

2. Write to President Obama
- and ask him to pressure the Zimbabwe government to release Jestina Mukoko and her fellow activists

Click here to send a message to President Obama.

Reports of horrible conditions and abuse in Zimbabwe's prisons are rampant we therefore must act with speed to secure the release of these human rights defenders.

Please act now!

In solidarity,

Staff @ Africa Action

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