By Lance Guma
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HARARE – About seven police officers on Monday afternoon raided the offices of the Zimbabwe Peace Project in Hillside claiming they had a warrant to search for the “illegal entry of goods or persons or communication equipment”.
As we wrote this report, detectives from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) were taking files and equipment from the offices in what activists believe is an attempt to intimidate human rights groups ahead of elections in Zimbabwe.
Only last week police raided the offices of the National Youth Development Trust in Bulawayo searching for alleged voter registration certificates and other documents “containing information that may adversely affect” the regime.
Last month Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (Zimrights) chairman Okay Machisa was arrested and detained for two weeks on dubious charges of conspiracy to commit vote fraud, forgery and publishing falsehoods.
That arrest also followed the arrest of Zimrights Deputy National Programs Coordinator, Mr Leo Chamahwinya in December 2012 on similar charges.
In December 2008 four CIO agents, part of a 7 member gang, abducted former ZBC TV presenter and human rights activist Jestina Mukoko from her Norton home around 5am. They pushed her into the back of a truck and sped off.
Mukoko who leads the Zimbabwe Peace Project was accused of plotting to overthrow the Mugabe regime by recruiting MDC insurgents to train in Botswana. Mukoko was severely tortured and kept incommunicado 21 days.
After this period she was able briefly, in the presence of police, to see her family. Without warning she was brought to court on Christmas Eve, alongside other detainees who had been abducted and held for 76 days. The detainees included a 72-year-old man and a two-year-old boy, all facing banditry charges.
The case collapsed and the charges were dropped. Nehanda Radio