Lawyers Denied Access to Two Gay Rights Activists Arrested in Zimbabwe Raid: Torture Feared

Ellen Chademana and Ignatius Muhambi, two activists with Zimbabwe's only gay rights group GALZ, were arrested on Friday in a raid in which police said they were looking for pornographic material and drugs. Lawyers for the two activists from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZHLR) have been denied access.

Mugabe Said ZHLR: “ZLHR lawyers Dzimbabwe Chimbga and David Hofisi attended at Harare Central Police Station on Friday evening, but police remained adamant that the two Galz employees would be detained despite complaints from Chademana about her diabetic condition. On Saturday 22 May 2010 police refused to allow lawyers access to their clients.  It remains unclear what charges will be preferred against the two Galz employees but lawyers will continue to make attendances at Harare Central Police Station.”

LGBT Asylum News reports: "They were arrested following the issuing of a search warrant by Chief Superintendent Peter Magwenzi for 'dangerous drugs and pornographic material'. Magwenzi has been involved in disappearances and extended illegal detentions of opposition MDC activists and of journalists.

Magwenzi has been implicated in torture by civil society activists. Terry Musona, an MDC activist abducted and held for four months last year who says she was tortured by him, said of her detention:
'Most of the days we were forced to sleep on a cold floor, hungry and blind folded. We were tortured, denied food and medical attention during our entire period of illegal detention.'"

The situation for gays in Zimbabwe is not good. In April, there were reports of widespread "corrective rape" in the country, and in late March President Robert Mugabe rejected calls to make gay rights a part of the country's new constitution, saying that homosexuality destroys nationhood.


  1. walter says

    if mugabe thinks homosexuality destroys nation hood how does he feel about a people living in huts and living on dollars a day does for nation hood. his country has bigger problems but this bullshit is a way of keeping people’s minds focused elsewhere.and if this is the christian rights hope for the world they are dellusional.

  2. Steve says

    Bosie – Be careful with generalizing – you made a very broad statement there. Zim does NOT represent African politics. It’s a very dangerous country run by an autocrat – and it’s especially dangerous for gay people. When I tried to get into Zimbabwe last year, the list of prohibited items (including anything green or camouflage-patterned) was frightening – especially because the penalty was arrest. Yikes!

    The West needs to start appreciating the fact that there are countries in Africa that are relatively safe and stable (Botswana, Namibia, Egypt) and those that are frighteningly unstable. Don’t generalize the politics of an entire continent before you understand the subtleties of each country’s situation.

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