[The following appeal has been endorsed by New Politics as well as The Nation, The Progressive, and the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, among others.]
Six people in Zimbabwe are now imprisoned on charges of treason for organizing a meeting to discuss the mass movements in Tunisia and Egypt. For this “crime” they face a possible death sentence. They have been tortured and are now in solitary confinement.
An international day of action to demand their release will be held on Monday, March 21, when they are scheduled for a court hearing.
Our message is simple and urgent: We demand that the government of Zimbabwe drop all charges and release them immediately.
Plans are underway for demonstrations in a number of countries. We urge concerned people everywhere to join us in organizing meetings and demonstrations in solidarity with the prisoners. Please translate and distribute this appeal as widely as possible. Let us know know what you are doing at the contact addresses below.
The worldwide significance of the struggle to free the Zimbabwean prisoners is reflected in a recent statement of support from the Congress of South African Trade Unions. “The Egyptian and Tunisian experience have inspired many workers and poor people all over the world to stand up and demand an end to dictatorship, corruption and injustice of whatever kind.”
The arrest and prosecution of the six may seem like only the latest round of repression by Robert Mugabe’s government against opponents. But it is also an attack on the spirit of Tahrir Square, which has inspired people all over the world. The six prisoners include trade unionists, intellectuals, and activists in the struggle for women’s rights. The effort to suppress them — and even to kill them, whether by execution or through torture and denial of medical treatment while in custody — is a vicious assault on all of us.
To learn more about the six prisoners and the struggle for their release, see the website Free Them Now! and the Facebook group (open to non-Facebook users) Calling for the Release of Zimbabwean Activists.
For more information on events in the United States, see this blog.