Amnesty International says Masaraure victim of political persecution

HARARE – Amnesty International Zimbabwe says incarcerated teachers union leader Obert Masaraure is being persecuted for his relentless confrontation of government over teachers’ poor wages and working conditions.

This follows the embattled Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) president’s arrest and murder charge linked to the mysterious 2016 death of a colleague, Roy Issa who met his fate after plunging off the seventh floor of Harare’s Jameson Hotel.

Masaraure was locked up when he had gone to report at Harare Central Police Station as part of his bail conditions prescribed in an ongoing treason case over which he faces trial.

He is currently languishing at Chikurubi Maximum Prison as his legal representatives once again toil to secure his freedom.

In a statement on Wednesday, Amnesty International Zimbabwe condemned what it said was the sustained use of the law by Zimbabwean authorities to silence critics and human rights defenders.

“He (Masaraure) is being punished for defending teachers’ rights,” said the international rights based institution.

Amnesty International was joined in condemning the union leader’s arrest by the Botswana Civil Society Solidarity for Zimbabwe (BOCISCOZ), which comprises several Non-Governmental organisations in the neighbouring country.

“We strongly urge the authorities of Zimbabwe to immediately and unconditionally release and drop all charges against Masaraure,” said the group in a statement.

“This is because his detention is arbitrary and only aimed at silencing him as a human rights defender.

“There is a regional civil society for the Zimbabwean government to refrain from unlawfully detaining and prosecuting human rights defenders, journalists and pro-democracy activists as legitimate actors in the promotion of human rights, rule of law and democracy in Zimbabwe; and to guarantee an end to ongoing crackdown on human rights and civic space in line with regional and international instruments including the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights defenders.”

Masaraure is also one of the several political and human rights activists who were arrested last week following the detention of Coalition for Citizens Change (CCC) MPs Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole for allegedly stocking up violence in Nyatsime in the aftermath of brutal murder of CCC activist Moreblessing Ali.

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