OutRage! has condemned as "shameful appeasement" the British Government's expression of "regret" to President Mugabe over his citizen's arrest by OutRage! members during a visit to London on the 30th October.
The words of regret were expressed to Zimbabwe's Foreign Minister in a phone call by Peter Hain MP, Minister of State at the Foreign Office in London.
"Instead of regretting our protest in defence of human rights, the Foreign Office should have apologised to the people of Zimbabwe for failing to arrest President Mugabe over his government's violation of the 1984 UN Convention Against Torture", said Peter Tatchell of OutRage!.
"Despite being presented with evidence that the Zimbabwe government condones torture, the Metropolitan Police and Attorney-General allowed Mugabe to go Christmas shopping at Harrods and then fly back to Zimbabwe."
Mr. Tatchell, who arrested President Mugabe during the OutRage! ambush of the President's motorcade in central London, is a former Labour parliamentary candidate, who fought the Bermondsey by-election in 1983. He has written to the Labour Prime Minister Tony Blair. Tatchell's letter urges Mr. Blair to initiate moves at next week's Commonwealth Summit in South Africa to "expel Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth and to suspend British aid to Zimbabwe, until such time as Robert Mugabe's government halts its attacks on the gay community and other abuses of human rights".
A copy of the letter to Tony Blair follows below.
Meanwhile, Tatchell has revealed that he campaigned in the 1970s in support of ZANU's "Chimurenga" to overthrow white minority rule in Zimbabwe.
"During the 1970s, when I was a student, I supported ZANU's war of liberation, fundraising to buy medical supplies for ZANU's fighters in the bush", said Tatchell.
"The President has betrayed ZANU's ideals of social justice and human rights. Mugabe is Ian Smith with a black face. It is sickening the way he comes to London to buy luxuries at Harrods while millions of Zimbabweans are living in poverty", he said.
Mr. Tatchell detailed the citizen's arrest of President Mugabe and condemned human rights abuses by the Zimbabwean government in an interview on NETWORK AFRICA, which was broadcast to Zimbabwe by the BBC World Service last Monday morning, 8th November 1999, at 3:30 and 5:30 hours GMT.
Peter Tatchell, Chris Morris and Alastair Williams of OutRage! were arrested for their involvement in the citizen's arrest of President Mugabe. They were held in police cells for 7 hours (until Mugabe had left Britain). Released on police bail, they are required to report to Belgravia police station in London on Tuesday, 16th November at 10 a.m., when they will be informed whether they are to be prosecuted.
|FURTHER INFORMATION:||Peter Tatchell (OutRage!)|
|PHOTOS + VIDEO:||Simon Bebbington (ISF reporter)|
The Prime Minister,
10, Downing Street.
9th November, 1999.
Dear Tony Blair,
I am writing on behalf of the gay human rights group OutRage! to request that, during the Commonwealth Summit in South Africa, you initiate moves to expel Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth and to suspend British aid to Zimbabwe, until such time as Robert Mugabe's government halts its attacks on the gay community and other abuses of human rights.
The expulsion of Zimbabwe is recommended by the prestigious London-based Foreign Policy Centre, of which you are a patron.
The Zimbabwean government has long flouted international human rights conventions: from the massacres in Matabeleland in the 1980s, to the ban on gay participation in the Zimbabwe International Book Fair in 1995 and the torture of journalists Ray Choto and Mark Chavunduka earlier this year.
President Mugabe's government stands accused of murder, torture, censorship, detention without trial, bans on strikes and protests, and the violent suppression of peaceful dissent.
The President has denounced lesbians and gays as "sexual perverts" and "beasts", who are "worse than dogs and pigs". Rejecting calls for homosexual human rights, he said: "We don't believe they have any rights at all". He has warned gay people to leave Zimbabwe "voluntarily" or face "dire consequences".
Since his inflammatory comments, homosexuals in Zimbabwe have been beaten, arrested, framed on trumped up charges, fire-bombed and threatened with death.
Your government is committed to an ethical foreign policy. We ask you to give this policy effect by cooperating with other Commonwealth leaders to isolate Zimbabwe and deny President Mugabe the trade and aid on which his government depends for its survival.
Add your voice to the protest
To add your voice of protest, email the Zimbabwe Embassy (in Washington D.C.):
Zimbabwe: Charges Dropped against Morris, Tatchell & Williams
Zimbabwe: Tatchell Death Threat
Tatchell will visit Zimbabwe in response to Mugabe Invitation
"Mugabe Three" Charged
Mugabe Arrest: GALZ Response to "Pink Paper" Article
Zimbabwe's President Mugabe detained on charges of torture by gay rights protesters
Zimbabwe President Meets British Gay Rights Activist
Call to suspend British aid to Zimbabwe
President Mugabe of Zimbabwe challenged to 'take the test'
Plethysmography in action
Antigay MPs challenged to 'take the test'
Zimbabwe Human Rights Practices -- U.S. Department of State, March-1996
Violence at the Zimbabwe Book Fair -- AFP, 03-August-1996
GALZ, Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe -- further background information
Link to American Psychological Association
Independent: Zimbabwe rejected by Commonwealth human rights body 16-November-1999
Independent: Queen embroiled in Mugabe apology row 10-November-1999
BBC: Mugabe: UK set 'gay gangsters' on me 7-November-1999
BBC: Mugabe slams Blair's 'gangster gays' 7-November-1999
BBC: Zimbabwe protests gay attack on Mugabe 3-November-1999
BBC: Zimbabwe: the problems of progress 12-August-1998
BBC: Zimbabwe: Homosexual and hated 13-August-1998
BBC: Banana trial ends 24-June-1998
BBC: Journalists released for UK treatment 3-March-1999
BBC: Mugabe refuses to condemn torture 8-February-1999
BBC: Doctor backs up torture allegations 28-January-1999
BBC: Police disperse Zimbabwe protest 26-January-1999
BBC: Torture Ordeal 22-January-1999
BBC: Detained Zimbabwe journalists 'beaten' 21-January-1999
BBC: Mark Chavunduka arrested 12-January-1999
BBC: South Africa court decriminalises homosexuality 9-October-1998
BBC: President Museveni of Uganda 29-September-1999
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