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Three Female Opposition Activists in Zimbabwe Charged for their Ordeal

The three women, all leaders of the Movement for Democratic Change’s youth section, have been held in the infamous Chirubi high-security jail since Friday. They face prison sentences of up to 20 years or a fine. Clad in prison garb, the three activists appeared weak and distressed as they climbed out of a prison truck on Monday morning minutes before their bail hearing at Harare’s central magistrate’s court. Netsai Marova, 25, held a walking aid as Joana Mamombe, 27 and one of Zimbabwe’s youngest MPs, assisted her. The three women disappeared after being detained by police and soldiers last month after a demonstration in Harare and were found on a roadside 60 miles away from the capital two days later, badly injured and traumatised. After giving detailed and graphic accounts of repeated beatings, humiliation and sexual assault to local and international media, the three were charged with “making false statements prejudicial to the state” and jailed. United Nations human rights experts have called for the charges against the three women to be dropped.