Gay rights activists abused in Zimbabwe?

May 28, 2010 at 2:23 PM
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HARARE, Zimbabwe, May 28 (UPI) -- The group Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe says two of its employees were tortured by police during six days in custody.

Ellen Chadehama, 34, and Ignatius Mhambi, 38, were arrested last Friday on charges of possessing pornography and posting a letter in the office from former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown criticizing President Robert Mugabe's position on homosexuality, The Guardian reported. They were granted bail Thursday and are scheduled for trial June 10.

Chadehama, the organization's administrator, and Mhambi, an accountant, are married and the parents of two children.

Both Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, have condemned homosexuality. But Tsvangirai is far more moderate than Mugabe, who has called homosexuals "lower than dogs and pigs."

An MDC spokesman condemned the alleged mistreatment of Chadehama and Mhambi. Nelson Chamisa said abuse of prisoners "flies in the face of democratic order."

GALZ said the couple were beaten. David Hofisi, their lawyer, said they were also forced into a sitting position with their arms in front of them with officers throwing bottles at them if they fell.

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