WSCF condemns arrest of Zimbabwe students
14 May 2007
The World Student Christian Federation (WSCF) has said it is deeply concerned about the welfare of two student Christian leaders in Zimbabwe who are being held in police custody.
Prosper Munatsi, who heads a branch of the Student Christian Movement of Zimbabwe (SCMZ) at Harare's university, and another member, Munyaradzi Chikorohondo, were arrested on 10 May on public order offences. The SCMZ said the pair were brutally assaulted by University of Zimbabwe security agents during the arrests.
"Prosper incurred a swollen left arm, and extensive bruises on the head and back, while Chikorohondo also incurred several bruises," said a statement issued by the student group, which is the local affiliate of the WSCF.
In Geneva, the federation's general secretary, Michael Wallace, said on 14 May, "We condemn the brutality of the police and the security forces, and urge the authorities to guarantee students and all Zimbabweans the right to meet freely and to protest without fear of harassment and violence."
The arrests followed a speech by Munatsi at a meeting about the plight of students at the Harare-based University of Zimbabwe. The speech centred on the failure of the university to address a continuing strike by academic staff, which has left students facing an uncertain academic future.
Lecturers at the university have been on strike for nearly two months over a demand for higher pay. Zimbabwe is reeling under an economic meltdown, with the official inflation rate above 1700 percent, high unemployment and the majority of the 13 million population unable to afford to feed themselves properly.
The SCMZ said Munatsi and Chikorohondo were being held at Harare's main police station, which the Zimbabwe student group said was known for its inhumane treatment of activists. "They were initially detained at Avondale Police station where they were subjected to police harassment, torture and denied food and legal representation," asserted the students' organization.
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