BULAWAYO: Following the conviction of the Malawi gay couple, the Zimbabwean Republic Police raided offices of the Gays and Lesbians Association of Zimbabwe (GALZ) in Harare. The police raided the offices on May 21 arresting three senior staff members and gay rights activists. Sources say that the police claimed that they had received information alleging that there were drugs at GALZ, a centre where gays and lesbians meet. Sources, who are also GALZ members said the police confiscated two laptops. They said the police allege to have found a pornographic compact diskette in GALZ offices during the raid. However, the arrested gay rights activists deny the charges.
The arrest has raised alarm, mayhem and despondency to GALZ members nationwide. One GALZ member based in Bulawayo said members are currently afraid.
"There is fear. The police may arrest us anytime. Last week, I received an anonymous call advising me to cancel my birthday party. The anonymous callers said the police would arrest us because we will be holding a gay party ", said the source who asked for protection of his identity. Currently, GALZ Bulawayo offices have closed until sanity returns and until safety is guaranteed.
STATEMENT FROM THE SEXUAL RIGHTS CENTRE
"The Sexual Rights Centre is deeply concern about the arrest of GALZ members on May 21, 2010. We strongly condemn the intimidation of GALZ members and staff. We therefore demand the immediate release of GALZ staff and for the police to stop intimidating people on the basis of their sexual orientation. The Sexual Rights Centre builds a sexual rights culture in Zimbabwe through challenging behaviour and attitudes in society, capacity building and empowering vulnerable and marginalised communities to advocate for their legal, social and cultural rights".##
For more information about the Sexual Rights Centre visit www.sexualrightscentre.com