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ILGA Stephane Tchakam, ILGA

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ZIMBABWE : TWO GALZ MEMBERS ARRESTED

in ZAMBIA, /201

Zimbabwean police have arrested two employees of the country’s only gay and lesbian group, the Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ). Armed with a search warrant from Chief Superintendent Peter Magwenzi, Detective Inspector Chibvuma on Friday evening led a team of police officers to search for dangerous drugs and pornographic material at the GALZ offices in Milton Park.

The police arrested two GALZ employees Ellen Chademana and Ignatius Muhambi, who were detained at Harare Central Police Station on Friday and were still in police custody Saturday.

The police accused GALZ of contravening Section 157 (1) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23 and Section 32 (1) of the Censorship and Entertainment Control Act Chapter 10:04 by allegedly keeping pornographic material and dangerous drugs.

Although two lawyers from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) who are representing the two GALZ workers had not yet ascertained how much material was taken by the police, various computers and some documents were seized by the police during the raid.

ZLHR lawyers Dzimbabwe Chimbga and David Hofisi attended at Harare Central Police Station on Friday evening, but police remained adamant that the two GALZ employees would be detained despite complaints from Ms Chademana about her diabetic condition.

On Saturday the police refused to allow the lawyers access to their clients.

It remains unclear what charges will be preferred against the two GALZ employees but lawyers will continue to make attendances at Harare Central Police Station.

President Robert Mugabe’s government has a history of harassing lesbians and gays. In the past President Mugabe has attacked homosexuality, which he has described as foreign to African culture. He once described homosexuals as “worse than dogs and pigs” when they attempted to assert their rights.

Last week a Malawian Judge sentenced a gay couple Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza to a maximum of 14 years in prison with hard labor under Malawi’s anti-gay legislation. The case has drawn international condemnation and sparked a debate on human rights in this conservative southern African country.

 

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