All Charges Against Zimbabwe POC Jestina Mukoko Dropped

September 29, 2009

Jestina Mukoko with cards from Amnesty International members.

Today the Zimbabwe Supreme Court ruled in favor of the motion brought by Jestina Mukoko’s lawyer that all charges against her should be dropped due to the torture she experienced at the hands of state security agents.

Late last year, Jestina Mukoko, head of the Zimbabwe Peace Project, was abducted from her home, illegally detained, tortured and charged with recruiting persons to participate in alleged militia camps in Botswana. She was one of 18 persons abducted and tortured around this time and charged with variations of the same crime. On June 25th of this year, the Supreme Court heard a petition from Ms. Mukoko and her co-defendants claiming their arrest was unconstitutional because they were illegally abducted and tortured. The Attorney General’s office admitted that Ms. Mukoko was illegally detained by state security agents but asserted that this should have no bearing on the case.

Amnesty International spoke with Jestina today after she left court, who said she was “over the moon with excitement.”

We also want to convey a message to YOU, Amnesty’s activists, in the eloquent words of Amnesty’s Zimbabwe researcher:

“Each time I meet Jestina she is quick to mention her appreciation of the campaign by AI members for her freedom. Thank you all for the actions you have been taking to apply pressure on the Zimbabwean authorities so that people like Jestina can enjoy their freedom.  Jestina was the face of at least 23 human rights and political activists who were victims of enforced disappearances from October to December 2008.  But we all kept the light burning for them and wishing them freedom.  Human rights defenders like Jestina count on our support.  Our cards, letters, calls and sometimes just good wishes gives them hope to fight for another day. ”