Writers including Kazuo Ishiguro, Carol Ann Duffy and Philippe Sands have urged the state to drop charges of inciting public violence raised against renowned writer Tsitsi Dangarembga.
The Zimbabwean novelist, shortlisted for this year’s Booker prize for This Mournable Body, was arrested on 31 July during anti-corruption protests in Harare and charged with the intention to incite public violence.
She was freed on bail and required to appear before the court on 18 September. The hearing has been delayed twice after prosecutors failed to appear on both occasions.
The call comes ahead of her latest appearance scheduled for 7 October saying that any other conclusion would be “an outrage”.
Duffy, the former poet laureate, said she hoped the support from writers in the UK would provide “some comfort and solidarity”, and urged the UK ambassador Melanie Robinson “to urgently pass on this support and concern to the Zimbabwe government”. Duffy said:
Peaceful protest is a human right and, particularly in circumstances where it takes courage to exercise, we must all challenge its suppression.
These remarks were echoed by author and president of English PEN, Philippe Sands, added that Dangarembga “is entitled to be a peaceful protester, to assemble and express her views.” Sands said:
That is her right under the law of Zimbabwe and international law. All charges should be dropped immediately, she must be allowed to walk free. Now. Anything else is an outrage.
A number of people including opposition MDC Alliance’s Job Sikhala, Hopewell Chin’ono and Jacob Ngarivhume were arrested and detained allegedly for inciting public violence after they rallied the citizenry to participate in the protests.
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