The EU Presidency was outraged and deeply concerned by the news of the arrest and brutal treatment of the opposition MP Nelson Chamisa (MDC) on 18 March. Mr Chamisa was on his way to Brussels to attend a meeting of parliamentarians from ACP and EU countries. He is now lying in a critical condition in a Harare hospital under police guard.
The MDC executive members Sekai Holland and Grace Kwinjeh, who were detained temporarily and mistreated by the police last week, were arrested again yesterday (Saturday) without being charged and prevented from travelling to South Africa for medical treatment. The opposition MP Arthur Mutambara was also arrested once more.
The Presidency welcomes the statements issued by John Kufuor, President of the African Union, and Bishop Tutu, who both protested against these incidents.
The Presidency condemns these actions by the security forces in the strongest possible terms and calls on the Zimbabwean Government to release all detained opposition politicians immediately, to enable them to have access to legal assistance and medical care, and to allow representatives of the EU Presidency to visit the detainees. It appeals to the Government to respect the rule of law and human rights and to refrain from doing anything which might lead to a further escalation of the situation in Zimbabwe.