Thursday, November 03, 2005

Shine a light today

What's At Stake?
Zimbabwean Activists Attacked

Officen Nyaungwe, Claris Madhuku, Sozwaphi Masunungure, Isaiah Makatura and Wilson Shonhiwa work as field officers with the Mass Public Opinion Institute. The organization aims to foster a more democratic environment within Zimbabwe by gathering public opinion data for publication and dissemination among policy makers.

On October 25, 2005, the five pro-democracy activists were conducting a survey in a rural area outside of Harare. They were confronted by a hostile group of men who did not identify themselves by name but claimed to be war veterans. They then brought the activists before an assembly of about a hundred local residents and accused them of acting against national interests.

As punishment, they began to beat the activists on their feet, backsides, and heads, mostly using boots, bottles, sticks, and logs. When the assailants learned that one of the activists is a close relative of Dr. Lovemore Madhuku, a well-known human rights defender who is himself the target of official persecution, they beat him even more severely, claiming that it was punishment "for the sins of his brother."
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