The continued arbitrary detention of opposition leader and MP Job Sikhala and MP Godfrey Sithole speaks volumes about the politicization of the justice system in Zimbabwe, Amnesty International said on September 21, 2022, 100 days after their imprisonment.
Continued arbitrary detention of Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole is unfair and abusive
Lucia Masuka, Director of Amnesty International Zimbabwe
“The continued arbitrary detention of Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole is unjust and abusive. It causes them and their families untold emotional distress,” said Lucia Masuka, Director of Amnesty International Zimbabwe.
“Zimbabwe authorities cannot keep Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole behind bars on trumped up charges. They must release them immediately and unconditionally. »
Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole were arrested on June 14, 2022 after attending the funeral of political activist Moreblessing Ali, who had been missing for three weeks before her mutilated body was found on June 11.
Zimbabwean authorities accuse the MPs of encouraging their supporters to engage in violence in Nyatsime, Chitungwiza town, on the occasion of the ceremony dedicated to Moreblessing Ali. They are charged with incitement to violence and the trial court denied their request for bail. Since then, several requests have been rejected.
Zimbabwean authorities cannot keep Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole behind bars on trumped up charges. They must release them immediately and unconditionally.
As government critics and opposition members are frequently harassed and arrested, Amnesty International believes that the charges against Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole and the denial of bail to them bear all the hallmarks of a maneuver by the authorities to persecute and silence political opposition.
Authorities must stop criminalizing dissent
“The continued detention of Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole is a travesty of justice. They are victims of a government that wants to silence dissenting voices at all costs, declared Lucia Masuka.
“The authorities must stop criminalizing dissent and foster an environment conducive to allowing everyone to express themselves freely. »
Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole are senior officials of the country’s main opposition party, the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC). Job Sikhala is the president and Godfrey Sithole is the deputy for Chitungwiza-Nord. They have both been held in arbitrary detention for 100 days, sometimes without being able to communicate with their lawyers.