Amnesty International calls for release of Job Sikhala

Zimbabwe opposition member of parliament Job Sikhala, centre, attends a political rally in Harare, Zimbabwe, Sunday, Feb 20, 2022. Sikhala has been detained in the harsh Chikurubi prison near the capital, Harare, for almost three months, on accusations of inciting violence. The fiery 50-year-old Sikhala has been arrested more than 65 times in his two-decade of political career but has never been convicted of any crime, said his lawyers. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

LONDON, United Kingdom, (APO Group) — The continued arbitrary detention of opposition leader and Member of Parliament Job Sikhala and MP Godfrey Sithole is revealing of the politicized justice system in Zimbabwe, Amnesty International said today, 100 days since their incarceration.

“The ongoing arbitrary detention of Sikhala and Sithole is unjust and abusive. It has caused unspeakable emotional distress to them and their families,” said Lucia Masuka, Executive Director of Amnesty International Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwean authorities cannot continue to incarcerate Sikhala and Sithole on trumped up charges

“Zimbabwean authorities cannot continue to incarcerate Sikhala and Sithole on trumped up charges. They must be released immediately and unconditionally.”

Sikhala and Sithole were arrested on 14 June 2022 after attending the funeral of political activist, Moreblessing Ali, who was missing for three weeks before being found murdered and her body mutilated on 11 June 2022.

Zimbabwean authorities have accused the MPs of encouraging their supporters to cause violence in Nyatsime, Chitungwiza, during Ali’s memorial. They are facing charges of inciting violence and were denied bail when they appeared in the magistrates court. Several appeals for bail have since been rejected.

“The continued incarceration of Sikhala and Sithole is a travesty of justice. They are victims of a government hellbent on silencing opposition voices,” said Lucia Masuka.

“Zimbabwean authorities must stop criminalizing dissent and instead create a conducive environment for people to freely express themselves.”

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