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Zimbabwe police vs. LGBT rights group

Original caption: President of Zimbabwe Robert...
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe. (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Police in Zimbabwe say they’re still investigating the group Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe, or GALZ, and have refused to return property they seized during a raid on GALZ offices in August.

GALZ attorney Tonderai Bhatasara wrote to police to say that the items  should be returned, because they were not linked to any crime.

About the raid, the Zimbabwean newspaper NewsDay reported:

The police ransacked the GALZ offices in Milton Park and confiscated property, which included computers, compact discs, pamphlets and various documents, on allegations that the organisation was operating without registration as required under Private Voluntary Organisations Act.

In reply to Bhatasara, the  police at Harare Central Police Station said they were keeping the property during an ongoing investigation and wanted to use it in court.

Bhatasara denies that GALZ is in violation of the registration law. At the time of the raid, police also accused GALZ of possessing materials that promote homosexuality.

Under Zimbabwean law, male-male relations are punishable by up to one year in prison. In addition, President Robert Mugabe and the Zanu PF party are seeking a ban on homosexuality in a new constitution that is currently being crafted, NewsDay said.

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at info@76crimes.com. Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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