Human rights pressure group Amnesty International says the continued detention of Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) legislators Job Sikhala, Godfrey Sithole and 14 others reveals how the country’s justice system has been politicized.
Sikhala and Sithole were arrested on 14 June facing charges of inciting violence at the funeral of slain CCC activist Moreblessing Ali and were denied bail when they appeared at both the Magistrates and High Court.
Lucia Masuka, Executive Director of Amnesty International Zimbabwe said the detentions have caused emotional distress to their families.
“The continued arbitrary detention of opposition leader and Member of Parliament Job Sikhala and MP Godfrey Sithole is revealing of the politicized justice system in Zimbabwe, Amnesty International said today, 100 days since their incarceration.
“The ongoing arbitrary detention of Sikhala and Sithole is unjust and abusive. It has caused unspeakable emotional distress to them and their families. Zimbabwean authorities cannot continue to incarcerate Sikhala and Sithole on trumped up charges. They must be released immediately and unconditionally.” said Masuka.
She added “Zimbabwean authorities cannot continue to incarcerate Sikhala and Sithole on trumped up charges. They must be released immediately and unconditionally As critics of the government and members of the opposition are frequently harassed and arrested, Amnesty International believes that the charges against Sikhala and Sithole, and the denial of their bail, is an effort to persecute and silence political opposition by the Zimbabwean authorities.
“Zimbabwean authorities must stop criminalizing dissent. The continued incarceration of Sikhala and Sithole is a travesty of justice. They are victims of a government hell-bent on silencing opposition voices. Zimbabwean authorities must stop criminalizing dissent and instead create a conducive environment for people to freely express themselves.”