Escalating Violence and Repression
after March 11

Human Rights Watch is seriously concerned by the level of threats and violence against perceived or actual supporters of the opposition, opposition officials, civil society activists, and ordinary Zimbabweans since March 11, 2007. Hundreds of opposition members and supporters, and civil society activists have been arrested, abducted or tortured, and scores have gone into hiding. As the following section will show, these incidents seem to be occurring with the complicity of the government, through acts of police brutality; the lack of police protection for those at risk of abuses, such as independent journalists and lawyers; the government’s failure to conduct impartial investigations into abuses; the direct involvement of state agents in abductions and beatings; and the verbal incitement of the perpetrators by members of the government, including some at the highest level.50

The levels of violence around the country have also increased significantly since the aborted prayer meeting on March 11. According to police reports, between March 12 and April 21, there have been at least 11 alleged petrol bomb attacks on police camps, a passenger train and two stores around the country.

The first of the attacks reportedly took place on March 12 when a police camp was bombed in Chitungwiza. No one was injured during the attack.51 On March 14, three police women were severely burned when a petrol bomb was thrown at Marimba police camp in Harare.52 The most recent attack reportedly took place on April 21, when three petrol bombs and a tear gas canister were thrown at a house in a police camp in the suburb of Glen Norah, Harare.53 The motives behind these attacks and the persons responsible remain unclear, but police have blamed the attacks on the MDC.54 The MDC denies the allegations and accuses state agents of staging the attacks to justify a crackdown on the opposition.55

Human Rights Watch opposes the use of violence by all political parties and upholds the responsibility of the government to prosecute those responsible. But, while the petrol bomb attacks may have provided the official justification for the arrests of MDC officials and supporters after March 11, they do not justify the police’s subsequent violent and widespread campaign of beatings and repression of civil society activists, opposition members and supporters, and ordinary Zimbabweans in the suburbs of Harare. 

Crackdown in Harare’s high-density communities

The violent arrest and assault of the opposition leadership on March 11 led to further scuffles between police and opposition supporters in several high-density suburbs in Harare, including Highfield and Glenview on March 11.

Following the events of March 11, heavily armed police continued to aggressively patrol the high-density suburbs in Harare South, beating anyone they suspected of supporting the opposition. Some of the victims later identified by Human Rights Watch were entirely unconnected to the opposition.

Witnesses to and victims of this campaign told Human Rights Watch that in apparent retaliation against the reported attacks on their colleagues, police went on a two-week-long violent rampage in areas such as Glenview, Highfield and Mufakose, randomly beating passers-by in the streets, shopping malls, and people in bars and beer halls.56  

For example, one man told Human Rights Watch about the abuse he suffered at the hands of between ten and twelve policemen at a bar in Glenview on March 14:

At first I was accosted by one policeman who told me to come outside. But when I got outside there were two more policemen armed with batons and they begun to beat me. They beat me thoroughly and then they told me to go but I fell down and they started beating me again. They were joined by other policemen and there was now a chain of policemen beating me with batons and kicking me in the ribs everywhere.

They were telling me “you are beating policemen, don’t beat policemen, you are beating policemen, don’t do that.” I told them that I didn’t know anything about beating policemen but they continued hitting me. They were so many of them beating me. I fell unconscious and when I woke up I was taken to Harare central hospital where they took an x-ray. I had a broken arm and bruised ribs. I later heard that police were beating other people in the area. Now I am in fear of the police. If you are seen walking around after dark, they beat you. I am not feeling well. I am in pain. What the police have been doing is very bad, very cruel. It’s very, very cruel.57

In another case, on March 14, police severely assaulted ten employees of a local store in Mufakose as they closed the store for the night. The local shop manager told Human Rights Watch:

More than eight vehicles of police came and they said “everybody sit down.” We were dressed in our store uniform. I tried to negotiate with them to say we were just employees but the first one beat me with a baton and I sat down. They beat us up so badly that after the beatings we first run away without locking the doors of the shop. I came back later to lock the door. We heard later that they had been a petrol bomb thrown at Marimba police station. We thought that they would respect the fact that we were wearing uniforms and therefore just employees at a store. They hit me on my leg and my shoulder was also hurt. They were beating us with batons, rifle butts and they were kicking us. They were saying “you don’t have to beat the police.” The revenge was on us which was too painful. They were saying “you are MDC people.” At the time the store was cleared and it was just the ten of us workers who were beaten. The police who attacked us were more than 50. They hit us just outside the store as we were locking up for the night and leaving. We are now so scared.58

The severe bruises from the beatings were clearly visible to a Human Rights Watch researcher who interviewed the ten employees the following day as they received treatment for their injuries at a medical facility in Harare.

According to other first-hand accounts from victims and witnesses to the campaign, police also went house to house beating people with batons and accusing them of belonging to the opposition. In several cases victims accused the police of stealing their possessions, including cell phones and money.

For example, in the early hours of March 12, four police officers forced their way into the home of a 52-year-old woman and her family, and beat them with batons and rifle butts. The woman was beaten unconscious and sustained serious head injuries and a fractured wrist. She recounted how the police officer told her that she deserved to be beaten because, “you are the people who support the opposition.” The woman told Human Rights Watch that none of her family had ever been involved in politics.59

Human Rights Watch documented many similar abuses in other high-density suburbs in Harare in March. It appears that anyone remotely connected to the opposition or other forms of activism—and even those who were not part of the opposition—ran the risk of arrest, abduction and a brutal beating.

For example, one opposition member told Human Rights Watch how she was arrested with several relatives, and then savagely beaten by police on March 17 in Warren Park. “I tried to tell them not to beat my mother because she is old and not an activist,” she said, “but they wouldn’t stop. They said she was my mother and therefore deserved to be beaten. We were detained for three days and then released without charge.”60

The high levels of repression in the high-density suburbs continue. Police have imposed an informal curfew on a number of suburbs including Glenview, and Highfield, arresting and beating any persons found walking in the street after nightfall. According to one woman from Highfield interviewed by Human Rights Watch:

Right now things are bad. They just come to the beer halls or shopping malls and start beating people, telling them to leave. By 9 to 10 p.m. the beer halls are closed. The shops are also targeted and have to close by 7 p.m. People are scared. We are living in fear. Just the other day, a group of us were at the shops in the evening and one policeman came and dragged one of my friends and started beating him. We couldn’t say anything. We were scared they would turn on us as well. They didn’t give him any reason. They just beat him. He was badly beaten and has now been hospitalized. Right now when you see a police patrol or group of policemen you fear the worst. You know they will just start beating people.

A 20-year-old woman from Highfield told Human Rights Watch:

It was two days after the prayer meeting. We were going to the shopping centre in the evening and then policemen started to beat people up. People run. They started beating six guys with batons and one of my friends his arm was broken. One had a fractured skull and the other is complaining of chest pains. The one with a fractured arm was hospitalized and had his arm in a plaster but it didn’t work so now they have to use metal plates because it was badly fractured. We are ordinary people not aligned to anything and we were beaten.61

One man in Highfield told Human Rights Watch, “Right now, no one walks about after 7 p.m., unless you want a beating. My nephew was beaten the other day as he was walking home late after visiting friends. The police accused him of being one of the MDC activists who plan acts of violence, but my nephew doesn’t support any party.”62

Another man told Human Rights Watch: 

In broad daylight everything looks normal but it’s not. After dark, things are bad. At night in this area we have a lot of police. Sometimes they are in cars; sometimes they just patrol on foot. If they find you in the streets they beat you. In some areas down in Lusaka they were going door-to-door beating people. They want people to feel like they are in a cage.63

Abductions and abuse by alleged CIO agents, Youth Militia and ZANU PF supporters

First-hand accounts from victims and witnesses have implicated members of Zimbabwe’s Central Intelligence Organization (CIO), “youth militia” and supporters of the ruling party ZANU PF in acts of harassment, intimidation, abduction and assault of opposition members and supporters, and civil society activists.64

On March 18, eight unidentified men attacked MDC spokesperson and Member of Parliament Nelson Chamisa with iron bars in the departure lounge of Harare International Airport, as he attempted to fly out and attend a European Union-African, Caribbean, and Pacific parliamentary meeting in Brussels, Belgium.65 Chamisa sustained serious head injuries. In an interview from his hospital bed, Chamisa reportedly stated that he believed that the men behind the attacks were CIO agents because the attack occurred in full view of the police at the airport who failed to react.66 Chamisa was among those arrested and brutally beaten on March 11. No one has been arrested for the attack although police are reportedly investigating the incident.

In another case, a 15-year-old girl and her mother—a Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) activist—were abducted by a group of persons, whom they suspected to be state agents and “youth militia” on March 19 at Warren Park D in Harare. She described her ordeal to Human Rights Watch:

We were put into a car and blindfolded and we didn’t know where we were going. Then they put us into another vehicle. I think it was an open truck. They took us to Mount Hampden and we were taken out of the car and badly beaten with clenched fists and kicked while we were there. We saw that the people had three cars. They were saying “your father is an MDC supporter and you are the ladies of Women of Zimbabwe Arise and that is why we are beating you up.” We were hit on our heads, our backs, our legs, everywhere. We were just beaten up very badly. We haven’t reported the case to the police because it is no use. They will just arrest us again because those people who beat us are part of that. It’s no use.67

One civil society activist told Human Rights Watch that he had received repeated visits from people he suspected of being CIO agents:

On the day of the prayer meeting, I was walking at 7 p.m. I was stopped by three people in a pickup truck and they started to ask “Where is your ID?” and I said I don’t have it and they said get into the car but I refused. They told me that “we know about your movements and we know about you and your activities.” The other day some people came to my gate in the middle of the night but we didn’t come out. This Friday [March 23] they came at 11 p.m. but they didn’t find me. The last time I jumped into my neighbor’s garden. Sometimes they are two people or three people. They don’t identify themselves but I believe they are state agents. I am scared of being abducted and now I rarely spend the night at my house.68

Civil society activists and opposition supporters allege that CIO agents and “youth militia” are often present at police stations around the country and are routinely involved in the beatings of activists in custody.69 Similar allegations of CIO and “youth militia” involvement were made by the opposition officials and supporters beaten on March 11.70

A civil society activist arrested and beaten at Harare police station on March 14 told Human Rights Watch, “We always know there are CIO and youth militia at the police stations. They are the ones who don’t wear police uniforms. The CIO officers sometimes introduce themselves as coming from the office of the president. They are usually the most brutal ones.”71

Arbitrary arrests and abuse of opposition members and supporters

According to the MDC, scores of its officials and supporters have gone into hiding, and hundreds more arrested and subjected to brutal beatings and torture while in police custody.72 

Incidents of arbitrary arrest, abductions and assault of members and supporters of the opposition have increased significantly since the beginning of the year.73 In a press conference in Harare on April 12, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai reported that 600 MDC members and supporters had been arrested, abducted or tortured since early 2007, and 150 had sustained life-threatening injuries since February 16.74

The aftermath of the March 11 prayer meeting has resulted in even further arrests, abductions and beatings of opposition members and supporters. Human Rights Watch is concerned that police are using the petrol bomb attacks, for which trials are yet to take place, as a pretext to violently clamp down on all forms of political activity in the country.

On March 28, police stormed Harvest House in Harare, the political headquarters of the Tsvangirai-led faction of the MDC, and arrested more than ten MDC members and supporters.75 Several others were arrested in the days and weeks that followed, in Harare, and other parts of the country.76 The government claimed that the MDC members and supporters were behind the recent petrol bomb attacks, and that they had found dynamite and detonators at some of their homes.77 Lawyers representing the activists informed Human Rights Watch that they were initially not allowed to see their clients,78 and alleged that the MDC members were severely beaten and tortured in police custody.79 In Harare, 13 MDC members were denied bail and remain in custody accused of organizing and carrying out the petrol bomb attacks.80

In a press statement on April 15, ZADHR condemned the denial of medical access for eight of the MDC members while in custody, and the forcible police removal of the activists from the private hospital where they were receiving treatment for their injuries on March 31.81 According to the MDC, at least 32 of its members and supporters are in police custody in various police stations around the country accused of planning and carrying out the recent petrol bomb attacks.82 The reports of abuse and torture of nine of the members raises deep concerns as to whether the activists will receive a fair trial, if one occurs.

The clampdown on the opposition has driven many into hiding. Human Rights Watch spoke to four local MDC members in Harare who were in hiding. One of them informed Human Rights Watch “I was beaten up at the March 11 rally by police. The police are now after me. They are accusing me of inciting people. Even though I am sick from the beatings I am not staying at home anymore. I am afraid if they find me they will beat me again or worse.”83

Another female MDC member told Human Rights Watch:

I was arrested on March 11 before the prayer meeting. On March 16 I was arrested again and the police told me they were arresting me because I was a thug and accused me of burning a camp. They started beating me, my mum and other ladies who had come to see me while I was recovering from the beatings I incurred on March 11. They took us to Warren Park police station. We were 11. They kept us there without food or water or anything. They were beating us with batons, boots, and fists. Our lawyers came on Saturday night and then we were released on Sunday. We were made to pay fines of 2,500 Zimbabwe dollars [US$10] and we don’t know why. My teeth are loose and my right leg and hand are severely bruised. Every part of me is in pain. I can’t even sleep. I identified one of the police officers as Nyika. He was one of the people beating us up. They were saying “you will leave this party; we are going to destroy you.” Even though I am sleeping at my house, I am not feeling comfortable.84

Use of lethal force by security forces

Since March 11, several incidents have occurred in which Zimbabwean security forces have used disproportionate and lethal force against unarmed demonstrators and other activists. For example, MDC member Gift Tandare was killed when police opened fire on unarmed demonstrators during clashes with police in the immediate aftermath of the March 11 prayer meeting.85 One witness to the incident told Human Rights Watch, “People were angry because they were being beaten and some threw stones but the police were armed to the hilt and had riot gear. They just fired.” 86

On March 12, two MDC supporters were seriously injured when police opened fire on mourners at the funeral of Gift Tandare. According to a report from ZADHR, the two MDC supporters who were shot sustained gunshot injuries to the left ankle and right arm respectively. One sustained a shattered left ankle from the gunshot and was likely to require amputation from the left ankle downwards.87 An MDC supporter present at the funeral described how 20 to 30 police armed with guns, batons and police dogs stormed the funeral:

The police jumped out of their trucks and started beating everyone there. They were two guys who were shot at the funeral. I saw it. One was shot in the arm and one in the leg. They [the police] just fired into the ground. They said “disperse, disperse, what are you doing here?” and some people started running and that’s how the two were shot. Those of us who didn’t run were forced to lie down and beaten.88

They told everyone to lie down and then hit them with their batons. They said Gift Tandare deserved to die because he attacked the police. They were hitting us with batons. After hitting us they threw tear gas inside the house where the mourners were gathered.

One of the victims was shot on two separate occasions on the same day. His sister told Human Rights Watch:

I knew of the first incident at 4 a.m. when he [the brother] came with people saying that he was shot on the right arm. He was taken to Avenues hospital where he was assisted and then discharged ay 11 a.m. on the same day. At 6 p.m. he went back to the funeral and he told me that at 9 p.m. the police officers came back with their truck and they just started shooting anyone who was running. My brother was running with the others and then he was shot on the same arm but he continued running. Then he started feeling dizzy and he shouted for help. After about 20 minutes he was assisted. He is still in the hospital now. His arm was badly damaged. They found three bullets in his arm and it is swollen. The doctors are waiting for the swelling to go down before they attend to it. He is in the Avenues clinic.89

On April 7, armed police reportedly stormed the home of opposition member Philip Katsande and shot him three times in the arms and chest. At the time of writing, Katsande remained in a critical condition at Parirenyatwa hospital in Harare. The police were reportedly looking for Katsande in connection with the petrol bomb attacks.90 The police have not investigated any of the shootings described above.

The indiscriminate use of lethal force by police against unarmed demonstrators constitutes a grave violation of the right to life under international human rights law. The incidents prompted a statement from the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Philip Alston, who called on the government to immediately halt its use of lethal force against unarmed political activists.91 The Special Rapporteur concluded that “military and police officers may use lethal force only when doing so is strictly necessary for self-defence or the defence of another's life” and that to do otherwise was a violation of international human rights law.

Intimidation, arrest and abuse of lawyers and journalists

The authorities have also targeted human rights lawyers representing the victims of abuses and journalists trying to cover the political unrest. Some of the lawyers representing those arrested on March 11 and after have been threatened and on occasion assaulted by police officers and persons they allege are CIO agents. Two human rights lawyers told Human Rights Watch that they had received death threats over the phone by unknown persons.92

Several human rights lawyers trying to gain access to arrested opposition supporters and civil society activists also told Human Rights Watch that the police routinely abused and threatened them with violence. In one case, human rights lawyer Harrison Nkomo told Human Rights Watch that a police officer beat him with a baton when he tried to see his clients at Machipisa police station on March 11.93

In a statement released on March 21, the International Bar Association’s (IBA) Human Rights Institute condemned the violence and threats made against Zimbabwean lawyers by police and other officials.94 The statement cited four separate incidents where lawyers were reportedly threatened with assault, arrest and in one incident ‘disappearance’ by police officers. In one case highlighted by the IBA, lawyer Mardzimbabwe Chimbaga was threatened by officials at Harare International airport on March 17, and told to stop taking up cases involving the opposition.95

The intimidation of lawyers violates Zimbabwe’s obligations under international law, including the ICCPR, and the ACHPR, which guarantee the right to legal counsel of one’s choosing. The UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, though not binding on states, call on governments to ensure protection of lawyers to carry out their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance or harassment.96

Journalists and photographers covering the political unrest have also come under attack. In a statement released in April, the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) expressed serious concern about reports of abductions, beatings and torture of journalists in the country.97 According to MISA, on the day of the prayer meeting on March 11, several police assaulted photojournalist Tsvangirai Mukhwazi, who spent three days in custody despite having the required media accreditation.98 On April 1, independent journalist Gift Phiri was arrested and reportedly tortured while in police custody. He was released on bail after four days in custody, and charged with practicing without a licence and abusing journalistic privilege under section 79 (1) and section 80 (1)(b) of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).99 Phiri’s case was remanded to April 25 for trial. The judge presiding over his case ordered the state to investigate allegations that Phiri was tortured while in police custody and report accordingly.100 At the time of writing this report police had not indicated whether they would investigate the allegations of torture.

On March 15, police severely beat a photographer and his brother in Glenview when they attempted to take pictures of a group of people at a shopping mall mourning the death of Gift Tandare. His wife told Human Rights Watch:

When my husband started taking the photos, a group of police officers swooped on him. He was taken to a forest where he was badly beaten with truncheons. The police took his cell phone, three cameras, two flashes and one bag with rechargeable batteries. His friends managed to rescue them and took him and his brother to hospital. He was badly bruised but his brother is worse. I think he fractured his arm. He is yet to recover. My husband has reported the case to the police but they keep telling him to come back on the next day and he has not recovered the items that were taken from him.101

The reported abduction and murder of Edward Chikomba, a freelance cameraman previously with the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, the state broadcaster, on April 5, has also raised serious concerns about the safety of journalists covering the recent events. Chikomba was reportedly abducted by unknown persons from his home in Harare and later found murdered; his body was reportedly left by the roadside near Darwendale, a township about 60 kilometers north of Harare.102 Police are reportedly investigating the murder.103

50 President Mugabe has repeatedly made statements supporting the police use of force in disrupting peaceful protests and the beatings of activists in police custody.

51 “Glen Norah ‘A’ house attacked,” The Sunday Mail newspaper, April 22, 2007,, (accessed April 24, 2007).

52 “MDC bombs women cops,” The Herald, March 15, 2007.

53 “Glen Norah ‘A’ house attacked,” The Sunday Mail newspaper, April 22, 2007.

54 “Warren Park supermarket petrol-bombed,” The Herald newspaper, March 26, 2007.

55 McDonald Dzirutwe, “Zimbabwe's Tsvangirai wants talks, says 600 tortured,” Reuters news, April 12, 2007; “ Zimbabwe: South Africa Linked to MDC 'Terror' Bombings,” Financial Gazette, April 19, 2007, , (accessed, April 21, 2007).

56 Human Rights Watch interviews, Harare, March 15, 22 and 27, 2007.

57 Human Rights Watch interview, Harare, March 15.

58 Human Rights Watch interview with local store manager [name withheld], Harare, March 15

59 Human Rights Watch interview, Glenview, Harare, March 27, 2007.

60 Human Rights Watch interview with MDC activist [name withheld], Harare, March 22, 2007.

61 Human Rights Watch interview, Harare, March 22, 2007.

62 Human Rights Watch interview, Highfield, Harare, March 27, 2007.

63 Human Rights Watch interview, Harare, March 22, 2007.

64 Human Rights Watch interviews, Harare, March 14-28, 2007.

65 See interview with Nelson Chamisa published in The Zimbabwean, March 23, 2007; Jen Redshaw, “Mugabe critic is beaten up at airport to silence plea for world help,” Times Online, March 19, 2007, (accessed April 4, 2007).

66 Ibid.

67 Human Rights Watch interview, Harare, March 22, 2007.

68 Human Rights Watch interview with civil society activist [name withheld], Highfield, Harare, March 27, 2007.

69 Human Rights Watch interviews with civil society and opposition supporters, Harare, Bulawayo, Masvingo and Mutare, March 14-28, 2007.

70 Testimony from civil society activists and members of the opposition at Save Zimbabwe Campaign press conference, Harare, March 16, 2007.

71 Human Rights Watch interview with activist [name withheld], March 15, 2007.

72 “Zimbabwe activists ‘badly beaten’, BBC online news, March 31, 2007, “MDC activists appear in Harare court,” SABC news, April 3, 2007.

73 See Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, “political violence report January 2007,” March 16, 2007; “ZLHR concerned at continuing indiscriminate arrests of MDC members,” ZLHR press statement, February 22, 2007.

74 McDonald Dzirutwe, “Zimbabwe's Tsvangirai wants talks, says 600 tortured.”

75 Human Rights Watch telephone interviews with opposition supporters, civil society activists and lawyers, Harare, March 28, 2007.

76 Human Rights Watch telephone interviews with some of the lawyers representing the activists, April 25, 2007. 

77 “MDC activists denied bail again,” Zimonline, April 11, 2007, (accessed April 24, 2007).

78 Human Rights Watch telephone interview with lawyers, Harare, March 28, 2007.

79 See “Zimbabwe activists “badly beaten,” BBC online news, March 31, 2007, http// (accessed March 31, 2007); “MDC activists appear in Harare court,” SABC news.

80 Ibid. See also “Suspected Terror Bombers Apply for Refusal of Remand,” The Herald, April 21, 2007, (accessed April 24, 2007).

81 ZADHR press statement, April 15, 2007.

82 MDC statement, “A Summary of MDC Political Prisoners in Zimbabwe,” April 25, 2007, (accessed, April 26, 2007).

83 Human Rights Watch interview with MDC member [name withheld], Harare, March 15, 2007.

84 Human Rights Watch interview with MDC member [name withheld], Harare, March 22, 2007.

85 Human Rights Watch interview with witness [name withheld], Harare, March 15, 2007.

86 Human Rights Watch interview, Harare, March 15, 2007.

87 ZADHR press statement, “Nature of Injuries of Tortured Civil Society Activists and Opposition Party Leaders,” March 14, 2007.

88 Human Rights Watch interview with MDC supporter, Harare, March 15, 2007.

89 Human Rights Watch interview, Glenview, Harare, March 27, 2007.

90 “Shot MDC activist under police guard,” MDC press statement,, April 11, 2007, (accessed April 12, 2007).

91 “Government Of Zimbabwe Must Immediately Halt Use Of Lethal Force Against Unarmed Political Activists, Special Rapporteur Says,” UN news, April 2, 2007. (accessed, April 4, 2007).

92 Human Rights Watch interviews with lawyers, Harare, March 25, 2007.

93 Human Rights Watch interview, Harare, March 15, 2007.

94 “Zimbabwe: Violence and Threats against Lawyers Condemned by the IBA,” International Bar Association press release, March 21, 2007, (accessed online, April 4, 2007).

95 Ibid.

96ICCPR, article 14; ACHPR, article 7. See also Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, Eighth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and Treatment of Offenders, Havana, Cuba, August 27 to September 7 1990, U.N. Doc.A/CONF.144/28/Rev.1 at 118 (1990). These principles guarantee the right of all persons to be assisted by a lawyer. They also provide that governments ensure that lawyers are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, or harassment. Further governments are obliged to ensure that lawyers shall not suffer or be threatened with sanctions for any action as part of their professional duties. In situations where the security of lawyers is threatened as a result of discharging their duties, they must be adequately safeguarded by the authorities.

97 “Press freedom falls prey to arrest and torture”, IRINnews, April 11, 2007, (accessed April 12, 2007).

98 “Brutally Assaulted Journalists, Opposition Activists Freed from Police Custody,” MISA (Windhoek), March 16, 2007, (accessed April 5, 2007);  “South Africa response to Zimbabwe’s Freedom of Expression Crisis ‘Grossly Inadequate’,  Freedom of Expression Institute press release, April 5, 2007,, (accessed April 5, 2007); See also press statement by Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Pansy Tlakula, MISA media statement, (accessed April 11, 2007).

99 “Magistrate Ignores High Court Order as Journalist is Granted Bail,” MISA media alert April 5, 2007. (accessed April 11, 2007).

100 Ibid.

101 Human Rights Watch interview, Glenview, Harare, March 27, 2007.

102 “South Africa response to Zimbabwe’s Freedom of Expression Crisis ‘Grossly Inadequate,’”  Freedom of Expression Institute press release, April 5, 2007,, (accessed April 5, 2007); “Harare cameraman’s body dumped,” BBC online news, April 5, 2007, (accessed April 5, 2007).

103 Angus Shaw, “Reporter’s death prompts probe,” Associated Press, April 6, 2007,