NPWJ welcomes release of detained Zimbabwean human rights activist

3 Mar, 2009 | Press Releases

Jestina Mukoko, Director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP), who had been held in custody since 3 December 2008, was released on Monday, 2 March 2009, along with several other Zimbabwean human rights activists.  Although released on bail, Ms Mukoko remains under police guard in a hospital, where she is being treated for injuries alleged to have been caused by torture inflicted during her incarceration. Six other human rights activists remain in detention as they were unable to raise the bail required for their release.

No Peace Without Justice welcomes Ms Mukoko’s release, and those of the other previously-detained activists, and applauds the strong stand taken by opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who had publicly pressed the authorities to release Ms Mukongo and the other detained activists. With these releases, Zimbabwe is taking important steps to fulfil the commitments made before and during the formation of a unity government last month.

Nevertheless, No Peace Without Justice is deeply concerned that Ms Mukoko and others appear to have been tortured while in custody and calls on the Zimbabwean authorities to launch an immediate investigation into the allegations.  Anybody who is found to have participated in such acts should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and their victims should be fully compensated.

We urge the European Union to continue to insist on the full implementation of articles 2 and 9 of the ACP-EC Cotonou Agreement, concerning respect for human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law and call on the governments and parliaments of member States to seek assurances from the Zimbabwean authorities that the allegations of torture will be properly investigated.

No Peace Without Justice further calls on the Zimbabwean authorities to release immediately all human rights activists who remain in their custody and to ensure the earliest possible restoration of respect for human rights and the rule of law in Zimbabwe.

For further information, contact Alison Smith at or +32-486-986 235 or Nicola Giovannini at or +32-2-548-3913.