Zimbabwe Professor Arrested, Tortured For 'Treason' For Watching News Videos About Egypt & Tunisia

from the wtf dept

Disturbing reports out of Zimbabwe about how a professor who regularly held gatherings to discuss different news topics and social issues, was arrested, charged with treason and tortured for having the audacity to gather the regular group of about 45 people who discuss these things, and showing them some BBC and Al Jazeera news clips about the uprising in Egypt and Tunisia.
Last Saturday, Munyaradzi Gwisai, a lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe’s law school, was showing a group of students and activists internet videos about the tumult sweeping across North Africa when state security agents burst into his office.

The agents seized laptop computers, DVD discs, and a video projector before arresting 45 people, including Gwisai, who runs the Labor Law Center at the University of Zimbabwe. All 45 have been charged with treason -- which can carry a sentence of life imprisonment or death -- for, in essence, watching viral videos.

Over the next 72 hours, Gwisai and five others were brutally tortured, he testified on Thursday at an initial hearing.
I understand that Zimbabwe is not exactly a bastion of freedom these days, but arrested, tortured and charged with treason for gathering people to watch the news? Wow.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2011 @ 4:17pm

    Why is that no references to this story actually name the establishment?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 25th, 2011 @ 4:31pm

    I understand that Zimbabwe is not exactly a bastion of freedom these days, but arrested, tortured and charged with treason for gathering people to watch the news? Wow.

    They only do it because they have run out of white people to steal their farms from and abuse.

    Saying that aren't a bastion of freedom is pretty much downplaying the nasty reality of a country run by a dictator who has killed his own people before, and will likely do so again. His only saving grace is that he doesn't have much oil, so few are looking.

    Sort of another story that shows your ignorance of the world.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Joe Smith, Feb 25th, 2011 @ 5:41pm

    Zanu PF

    Zimbabwe is a cesspool of suffering.

    Mugabe and his supporters are responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans.

    If Zimbabwe had oil, or a predominantly white population, the West would have invaded a long time ago to put a stop to the abuse.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    BuzzCoastin (profile), Feb 25th, 2011 @ 5:55pm

    Damned right I authorized torture

    Well if you ask the Bush administration or their lawyers, the torture part of this investigation process is totally justified. Anything is justified if it helps "national security" for the Homeland. Hopefully, some conscientious citizen followed Janet Napolitano's suggestion and reported his suspicious activity to local authorities.

    And it may well be that these people were watching purloined copyrighted material, probably illegally downloaded. So maybe torture isn't justified just for that, but they probably owe hundreds of thousands of dollars to the copyright holders.

    Plus we all know that surreptitious surveillance of a country's citizens is the always legal and in the best interest of the homeland.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Jose_X, Feb 25th, 2011 @ 9:36pm

    Re:

    OK, well the front page of techdirt usually has over 20 stories. So, looking right now, which would you say are the rather substantial number of them that show his "ignorance of the world?"

    And what is your opinion on the techdirt stories on the US?

    Could you also describe the topics of which you consider yourself to be ignorant and show me to your blog? If you publish 1/10 of what Mike publishes, I'm sure I will be able to find numerous opportunities to state, "sort of another story that shows your ignorance of the world."

    If I can find room to make that statement then SURELY you must be ignorant of nearly everything you write, correct?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    JeroenW (profile), Feb 26th, 2011 @ 4:15am

    when starvation finally catches up with this country

    I'm not going to pledge even one cent when the inevitable begging begins. Even for Africa this is a remarkable transition, from a prosperous country to this in about a decade.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    vivaelamor (profile), Feb 26th, 2011 @ 5:07am

    Re: when starvation finally catches up with this country

    What do you mean 'when'? Zimbabwe has suffered widespread starvation for years.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    DS, Feb 26th, 2011 @ 5:38am

    Re: Damned right I authorized torture

    Yes, because it's soooo much better under Obama, amirite?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2011 @ 5:43am

    Re: Zanu PF

    The West, which is white, can not invade a black African country with out being classified as colonist, bigots, and prevaricators of racial hate.

    No let them sort out their own problems any way they want and if that involves mass extermination like Rwanda that then is their problem not The West's nightly news problem.

    And if you think that is cruel then you are most likely not aware of the fact that The East, China, is recolonizing Zimbabwe and the rest of Africa with the intent of doing exactly that The West did in the 18th century.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2011 @ 5:45am

    Re: Re: when starvation finally catches up with this country

    The West, which is white, can not invade a black African country with out being classified as colonist, bigots, and prevaricators of racial hate.

    No let them sort out their own problems any way they want and if that involves mass extermination like Rwanda that then is their problem not The West's nightly news problem.

    And if you think that is cruel then you are most likely not aware of the fact that The East, China, is recolonizing Zimbabwe and the rest of Africa with the intent of doing exactly that The West did in the 18th century.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2011 @ 5:54am

    Re: Re: when starvation finally catches up with this country

    White colonial Rhodesia was the bread basket of Africa.

    Black rule brought Mugabe and starvation.

    White rule was immoral and unethical.
    Black rule is moral and ethical.

    Or so they tell me.

    Wander what the Chinese who are recolonizing Zimbabwe think of this.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    icon
    vivaelamor (profile), Feb 26th, 2011 @ 6:33am

    Re: Re: Re: when starvation finally catches up with this country

    "No let them sort out their own problems any way they want and if that involves mass extermination like Rwanda that then is their problem not The West's nightly news problem."

    Dismissing the plight of others under the guise of not wanting to appear racist is despicable. I agree that western involvement in any foreign issues is a big problem, especially considering our track record, but to ignore their plight just because we don't know how to help isn't the answer.

    "And if you think that is cruel then you are most likely not aware of the fact that The East, China, is recolonizing Zimbabwe and the rest of Africa with the intent of doing exactly that The West did in the 18th century."

    Why would one cruelty make another any less cruel? Perception is not reality.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    icon
    vivaelamor (profile), Feb 26th, 2011 @ 6:41am

    Re: Re: Re: when starvation finally catches up with this country

    "Black rule brought Mugabe and starvation.

    White rule was immoral and unethical.
    Black rule is moral and ethical."


    You seem to imply that black people are at fault for Mugabe, while ignoring the fact that he gained power as a result of liberation from white rule. Racism is not welcome here.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    icon
    Matthew A. Sawtell (profile), Feb 26th, 2011 @ 8:04am

    Tends to get funny when commies are mentioned...

    Tends to get funny when commies (like Uncle Bob) get mentioned in the news - just to watch how people will bend over backwards in the comment section to either defend or flame the them, without sounding too John Birch or Pinko in the process.

    Bottom line: Strongmen LOVE when countries like the U.S. get themselves involved with questionable actions - because it gives them more FREEDOM to do what ever the hell they want.

    And Mike - I would like to think that you have travelled outside the U.S. borders to somewhere other than Canada, so please do not pull a 'Pollyanna' act.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Ryan Diederich, Feb 26th, 2011 @ 10:07am

    The real america...

    The real America would have sent in a team and kill the guy. Now its much different, we cant do that sort of thing anymore.

    Even though we were the only country with the gall, the firepower, and the people to do it. Now we arent. Unilateral sanctions? I dont even know what those are, other than useless.

    Ill kill the guy myself, people who cause pain and suffering dont deserve to live. People like this and like Quaddafi just need to get sniped off, simple as that. One plane ticket, one change of clothes, and the rounds to do the job.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 26th, 2011 @ 11:54am

    Re: Re:

    I make plenty of comments here (actually I post more than Mike does). I make errors, but I admit to them. Point out an error to Mike (beyond grammar or poor html) and you get called foolish, childish, or he suggests you are under educated.

    I don't have a personal blog, I think they are a waste of time. There are more than enough opinions out there without adding my own.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    icon
    vivaelamor (profile), Feb 26th, 2011 @ 3:42pm

    Re: Re: Zanu PF

    Mr Coward, please don't double post on purpose.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    icon
    vivaelamor (profile), Feb 26th, 2011 @ 3:48pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Point out an error to Mike (beyond grammar or poor html) and you get called foolish, childish, or he suggests you are under educated."

    I would make unsupported vague statements about you, but you're posting anonymously so I'll just point that out instead.

    "There are more than enough opinions out there without adding my own."

    If only you truly believed that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    icon
    harbingerofdoom (profile), Feb 27th, 2011 @ 9:14am

    Re: Re: Damned right I authorized torture

    shhhh... you're not supposed to point out that the current administration is pretty much doing exactly the same things as the previous administration and in some cases expanding such activities...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Andrew, Feb 28th, 2011 @ 1:40am

    From the present comments, there's not much to add.
    The country is an active dictatorship. The SADC (South African Development Community) implemented a power-sharing deal between the 2 main parties. That deal never resolved any difficulties, but got the question of Zimbabwe off their agenda.

    It was their job to fix things. They did enough to ensure the problem wasn't on their table anymore. Meanwhile the suffering continues; it just doesnt show up on people's news feeds as much.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Feb 28th, 2011 @ 4:38am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Point out an error to Mike (beyond grammar or poor html) and you get called foolish, childish, or he suggests you are under educated."

    Citation, please. I've rarely seen Mike be anything but courteous to anybody but obnoxious trolls, and those errors that are pointed out to him (factual errors, not disagreements with his points) are usually corrected on the main article, often with thanks to the commenter who pointed out the error.

    Please, point out one instance where Mike has personally called people any of those things due to them correcting a factual error in his post.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Jose_X, Mar 1st, 2011 @ 4:40am

    Re: The real america...

    The problem is that our military does not use due process. We don't ask for permission from those with the greatest stake.

    So the consequences of that sort of action is an escalation in weapons and anger from other nations in retaliation.

    When you are strong and bully, you end up paying a price later on. We are already paying a price, and the more foolishness we engage in, taking the low ground, the less we'll have tomorrow. You can't beat respect into other people. In time, it will come back to haunt you.. as it should. Because if another nation was disrespecting us, we return in kind.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Jose_X, Mar 1st, 2011 @ 4:50am

    Re: Re: The real america...

    The question wrt due process arises as to how to treat those in power elsewhere who clearly are creating problems (murdering, etc), apparently without violating their own nations laws. Well, this is why we have to appeal to higher moral laws and international laws. And it helps tremendously if we follow those ourselves.

    Right now with Lybia we are cutting off that party, and moving closer and closer to supporting those who are greatest stakeholders. In any case, we need to tighten the noose.. preferably while allowing a way out if the target surrenders since otherwise those tyrants might do crazy things.

    I don't like the death penalty as punishment dished out by civilized people, and I would not expect any less than brutality from someone who felt trapped and hunted.

    On the other hand, when you tighten the noose without being brutal and merciless, the primary target will lose support from more and more people and eventually will not be able to act with anything but stumbling incompetency.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    HERBERT MARAVA, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 10:34am

    MANDEVERE A HERO OF MDC PARTY

    THANK YOU MANDEVERE FOR HOLDING THE PARTY INTACT

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    HERBERT MARAVA, Mar 23rd, 2011 @ 10:48am

    THE COMPETANT LAWYER

    WHY IS IT THAT THE LEARNED PEOPLE ARE BEING ASSAULTED ? ARE ZIMBABWEANS STILL IN THE SHOES OF THE LAW ?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This