HARARE – The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has arrested MDC Alliance Youth Assembly leaders Joanna Mamombe, Cecillia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova a few hours after United Nations human rights experts demanded that the women are released and their alleged abductors prosecuted.
The three were arrested at the offices of their lawyers on Wednesday and the charges levelled against them relate to an alleged fake abduction report.
The arrests come barely hours after the United Nations demanded that Zimbabwe immediately end a reported pattern of disappearances and torture.
In a statement earlier this Wednesday, UN human rights experts called on Zimbabwe to urgently prosecute and punish the suspected state agents who allegedly abducted and sexually abused the three women. Part of the statement read:
Under the absolute and non-derogable prohibition of torture and ill-treatment, which includes enforced disappearance and violence against women, Zimbabwe must take all measures in its power to prevent such abuse, to investigate suspected violations, and to bring any perpetrators to justice.
The UN human right experts also urged the government to allow official visits of its human rights experts with a view to assessing the human rights situation in the country.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwean government has stoically maintained that the three women faked their abduction with the help of doctors and “hostile” foreign governments.