State presses on with violence incitement trial on rights lawyer, teachers union leaders
By Staff Reporter
A HARARE court will this Wednesday hear a case in which top rights lawyer, Douglas Coltart is charged with incitement to violence together with teachers’ union leaders under the militant Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ).
The group comprises ARTUZ national secretary general Robson Chere, union chair for Mashonaland West Munyaradzi Ndawana, Precious Ndlovu and Jessica Drury.
They are set to appear at the Harare Magistrate’s court charged with participating in a gathering with the intent of inciting public violence.
This was after nearly a dozen suspected state agents had forced themselves into a Harare private home 27 April last year where the group had been discussing Paulo Freire book titled “Pedagogy of the Oppressed”.
ARTUZ claims the union leaders were physically tortured while Jessica and Precious were psychologically manipulated for several hours before being handed over to Criminal Investigation Department Law and Order and released on the same day.
“Their torture by the state agents violated section 53 of the National constitution which states that, ‘no person may be subjected to physical or psychological torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment’,” said ARTUZ in a Tuesday statement.
“The constitution of Zimbabwe protects the right to freedom of expression which includes the right to seek, receive and communicate ideas (section 61) and the right to participate in collective gatherings or groups or any other manner, in peaceful activities to influence, challenge or support the policies of the government or any other cause, (section 67).
“As ARTUZ, we encourage the responsible authorities to respect the rights of trade unionists.”
The group further called for individuals and organisations to stand in solidarity with its members during their trial.