Police have arrested four human rights activists at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport on their return from a foreign trip.
Police officers also took away cellphones and laptops belonging to the activists.
In a statement on Tuesday, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) spokesman Kumbirai Mafunda said:
They were detained upon disembarking from a South African flight at Robert Mugabe International Airport last night and held for several hours without access to their lawyers.
The four are George Makoni, 38, advocacy officer for the NGO Centre for Community Development Zimbabwe; Tatenda Mombeyarara, 37, coordinator for lobby group Citizens Manifesto; Gamuchirai Mukura, 31, executive director of Community Tolerance Reconciliation and Development (COTRAD); and Nyasha Mpahlo, 35, governance officer at Transparency International Zimbabwe.
Lawyers were only allowed access to the four, 5 hours hours after they were arrested.
The arrest of the human rights activists follows a report carried in State daily publications, The Herald and Chronicle that suggested that civic organisations are plotting to cause mayhem in the country.
The civil society alliance Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition condemned the latest arrests. It said in a statement:
The police, government and state media have been colluding to criminalise the work of human rights defenders, laying unfounded allegations against civil society leaders as agents of regime change who want to topple the government.
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