Leading Zimbabwe rights activist held

March 27th, 2008 - 5:39 pm ICT by admin  

Harare, March 27 (DPA) Leading Zimbabwe rights campaigner Lovemore Madhuku said the police had briefly held him for allegedly failing to get out of the way of President Robert Mugabe’s motorcade in time. In a telephone interview with DPA, the chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) described his hour-long detention at Harare central police station as “just harassment”.

He said he was picked up in central Harare early Wednesday morning as Mugabe’s motorcade went past. The 84-year-old leader is believed to have been on his way to the airport.

“They said I disobeyed a police order and was talking on a cellphone,” Madhuku said. “The riot squad came and escorted me to the police station.”

Madhuku claims he challenged the arrest and said he was within the law.

Mugabe’s multi-vehicle motorcade strikes fear into the hearts of city motorists. It is preceded by high-powered motorbikes with screaming sirens and followed by open-topped trucks full of soldiers.

Cars have to immediately get off the road when they hear the sirens.

Madhuku, who has links with the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), has frequent brushes with Zimbabwe police. He was badly beaten by police during an aborted prayer rally last March.

Zimbabweans are preparing to elect a new president, parliament and local councillors March 29.

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