- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 1, 2007


A group of nine opposition activists in Zimbabwe who suffured injuries in police custody have been taken from their hospital beds back to prison, according to their lawyers.

The men were injured after a police crackdown last week in the capital, Harare. They were sent to the hospital after one collapsed while awaiting a bail hearing at a magistrate court on Saturday.

“They were taken from the wards without any hospital discharge cards or anything to say they have been released,” said Alec Muchadehama, a lawyer for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the main opposition party.

Some were on intravenous drips when they were taken away.

After hunting at police stations all day until he located the men in Harare’s central prison, Mr. Muchadehama said he would ask a court today to order their return to the hospital.

The arrests came after Zimbabwe’s veteran leader Robert Mugabe defied international pressure and secured the backing of his party to run for another five-year term in elections next year.

British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said she held Mr. Mugabe “responsible” for the attacks, which showed the steps he would take to “cling on to power.”

Several MDC officials and supporters have been arrested and charged with attempted murder after a series of firebomb attacks across the country, including one on the offices of the ruling party.

The MDC has denied the accusations, saying its members have been framed. On Friday, a defiant Mr. Mugabe told supporters that MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai had deserved a recent police beating, which left him with a cracked skull.

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