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HomeNewsInternational Community Reacts To Writer Dangarembga’s Conviction

International Community Reacts To Writer Dangarembga’s Conviction

International personalities and organisations have condemned yesterday’s conviction and sentence of acclaimed writer Tsitsi Dangarembga alongside Julie Barnes on charges of inciting public violence in July 2020.

The duo, arrested for joining a peaceful demonstration criticizing the government’s efforts to handle corruption were both charged with breaking COVID-19 lockdown measures to hold an illegal gathering and inciting violence.

American based advocacy group for writers PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Center director Liesl Gerntholtz said she is shocked by the judgement saying freedom of expression is under threat in Zimbabwe.

“We are appalled by this verdict, this conviction makes clear just how much peaceful protest and free expression are under threat in Zimbabwe and how much brave writers like Dangarembga risk when they stand up for these rights,” said Gerntholtz

Award winner filmmaker and journalist Zoe Flood said the conviction and sentence spelled a dark day in the country.

“Dark day in Zimbabwe. Pay attention to this, world. @EfieZethu @jbcorporatex  found guilty of participating in a gathering with intent to incite public violence, for a silent, peaceful walking protest with signs back in 2020,” posted Flood on Twitter


PEN international an association for writers said the conviction was a mockery of justice and the two should not be condemned as criminals.

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“PEN International is shocked by this news and strongly condemns the systematic misuse of the rule of law by the Zimbabwean authorities to harass, intimidate, and punish Dangarembga and Barnes, simply because they exercised their legitimate right to freedom of expression.

“Demanding public accountability and governance reforms is not a crime. Non-violent protest and calling for an end to official corruption are not crimes. It is a bewildering mockery of rule of law for the Zimbabwe judicial authorities to convict its citizens just because they wanted better for their country. Tsitsi Dangarembga and Julie Barnes should be celebrated as model citizens, not condemned as criminals following a sham trial on trumped up charges of promoting public violence,” said PEN International.

The association said it will continue campaigning for an end to the persecution of Tsitsi Dangarembga and Julie Barnes saying their conviction should be quashed in its entirety, and their freedom restored unconditionally.

The two were fined  ZW$70 000 and  were given six months wholly suspended on condition they do not commit a similar offence in the next 5 years.

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