Four Students Arrested For Protesting Sikhala's Imprisonment
Four University of Zimbabwe students were arrested for staging a protest against the continued imprisonment of opposition politician Job Sikhala and the “use of the law against government critics.”
The students are being charged with criminal nuisance and are being represented by a human rights NGO lawyer.
The protest involved over 30 youths holding placards and denouncing the ZANU PF government for persecuting opposition politicians.
The students also used social media with the hashtag #BlackMonday to mourn the death of democracy and the rule of law in the country.
Sikhala has been in pre-trial detention since June last year, while other opposition members and human rights activists face various charges amid concerns over shrinking democratic space in Zimbabwe.
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The students’ comments are similar to those made by opposition members and other government critics who accuse the government’s executive branch of controlling the judiciary to benefit the ruling party.
Critics have accused the government of using the judiciary to silence opposition voices and to protect ruling party officials from prosecution.
There have been several high-profile cases where opposition members and human rights activists have been arrested and charged with various offences while ruling party officials accused of similar offences have gone unpunished.
The appointment of judges has also been a contentious issue, with accusations that the government has manipulated the process to ensure that only judges sympathetic to the ruling party are appointed. These actions have led to concerns about the impartiality of the judiciary and the erosion of democratic values in Zimbabwe.