307/05 Obert Chinhamo / Zimbabwe Summary of Facts 1. The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, (the African Commission) received a complaint/communication on 26th September 2005, from Mr Obert Chinhamo, (also referred herein as the Complainant) an employee of Amnesty International - Zimbabwe Section and an active human rights defender. The complaint is submitted in accordance with the provisions of Article 55 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (the African Charter). 2. The Complaint is submitted against the Republic of Zimbabwe, (also referred herein as the Respondent State), a State Party to the African Charter.1 The Complainant alleges among others that, through the acts of the agents of the Respondent State his rights protected under the African Charter have been violated. Mr Chinhamo lists a number of separate incidents to justify his allegations. 3. The Complainant alleges that on 28th August 2004, while investigating and documenting human rights abuses at Porta Farm, he was allegedly surrounded by more than 10 uniformed police officers that assaulted him, poked his face with batons, shouted abusive language and accused him of working for a foreign organisation which works against the Respondent State. The Complainant was then arrested, forcibly removed from the premises, detained at Norton Police Station, threatened and banned from returning to Porta Farm and other farms. Upon his release several hours later, the Complainant declares that he was neither charged nor furnished with reasons for his arrest. 4. The Complainant alleges further that he and two others were again arrested on 2nd September 2004 while visiting Porta Farm and believes that this arrest was perpetrated in order to prevent them from documenting the human rights abuses occurring there. They were given no explanation for the arrest by the arresting officer but the Complainant was later charged with incitement of public violence and released on One Hundred Thousand (100,000) Zimbabwean Dollars bail. On 21st February 2005, the case was withdrawn for lack of evidence. 5. The Complainant also alleges that provisions of the Public Order and Security Act were used, in contravention of the African Charter, to deny him access to Porta Farm, prevent the documentation of human rights abuses there and of holding meetings with residents, and to justify his arrest, detention and the threaten him against publishing reports and press releases about the human rights abuses discovered. 6. The Complainant informs the Commission that in September 2004, all files were deleted from his laptop, while a number of Amnesty International - Zimbabwe Section Reports disappeared from his office. The Complainant believes that there is a reasonable probability the Respondent State, through its agents, invaded his right to privacy. 7. Prior to the withdrawal of the case against him, the Complainant alleges that Court remands were abused in order to deny him the right to be tried within a reasonable time limit, psychologically torture him and deplete his resources. He argues that members of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) took pictures of him on several occasions, thereby intimidating him. 8. In addition, the Complainant notes that the conditions in which he was detained caused him to suffer torture. These conditions, according to the Complainant, include being locked up in an extremely small, unhygienic cell, infested with parasites where he was denied blankets, denied permission to visit the toilet or to bath. According to him, all of these caused him to develop a cold, breathing problems and a cough which lasted for about six months. 9. The Complainant further alleges that after his release on bail, he was tracked by security agents and received several threats, including death threats against himself and his brother, which caused him to fear for his life and the safety of his family. Due to this fear, he fled the country in January 2005 - forcing him to abandon his studies and his job - and is currently residing in the Republic of South Africa as an asylum seeker. He added that the Respondent State continues to refuse to issue passports to his family members so that they can join him in South Africa. Complaint 10. The Complainant alleges that Articles 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 16, 17 and 18 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights have been violated. 1

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