46 Zimbabwe political activists charged with treason for watching Egypt protests video

February 25th, 2011 - 2:31 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Feb 25 (ANI): Zimbabwe has charged dozens of political activists with treason for allegedly plotting “Egypt-style” protests against Robert Mugabe’s rule.

The arrest of the activists is being seen as another sign that Mugabe is attempting to tighten his grip on Zimbabwe ahead of possible elections this year.

The 87-year-old president is keen to re-assert his control after being forced to share power with opposition party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) following a violent election in 2008.

The 46 activists, including student leaders and trade unionists, were arrested at the weekend after they were found watching videos of the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia.

The police said they were plotting to overthrow the Zimbabwe government.

Sky News quoted their defence lawyer as saying that they were attending an “academic meeting” and would plead not guilty when the case comes to court.

Human rights campaigners have described the charges as outrageous and called for the 46 to be freed.

“Arresting people for watching a video of the historic events in the Middle East is a transparent pre-text to block peaceful criticism of the government,” said Daniele Bekele, the Africa director of Human Rights Watch. (ANI)

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