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#Africa #Politics & Current Affairs

Amnesty International criticises Zim activist’s convictions

Amnesty International said that the conviction and sentencing of Job Sikhala, a member of parliament for the opposition Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC), for obstructing justice, is a travesty and further evidence of an escalating crackdown on peaceful dissent and the right to freedom of expression ahead of the elections due later this year.

Job Sikhala was given a wholly suspended six months sentence with an option of paying US$ 600 or spending six months in jail. Job Sikhala’s trial was linked to a video posted on the internet in which he is accused of saying that the ruling Zanu-PF party had killed Moreblessing Ali, a CCC activist. Job Sikhala, who has been detained since June last year, denied making the video and an expert witness testified in court that the footage had been tampered with.

On 28 April, Jacob Ngarivhume was convicted and sentenced to 48 months in prison, with 12 months suspended, on charges of inciting violence  simply for exercising his right to freedom of expression. He had been arrested, and later charged, after leading and organizing anti-corruption protests on 31 July, 2020.

Flavia Mwangovya said that uthorities are using the courts to silence members of the opposition who are demanding transparency, accountability and the respect and protection of human rights.

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