This petition is part of a campaign to free Roy Bennett, a Zimbabwean MP sentenced by the Zimbabwe parliament, outside a court of law, to one years hard labour. We are campaigning against this flagrant violation of human rights.
The Honourable MP Roy Bennett has experienced extraordinary levels of harassment and injustice at the hands of the Zimbabwean ZANU-PF government. He has been repeatedly arrested and tortured, his pregnant wife was attacked and as a result had a miscarriage, two of his workers have been murdered, and three others raped.
Despite the extent of the injustices against him, and the stress and grief he and his family has endured, Roy has always turned to the Zimbabwean justice system to air his grievances. The government has refused to comply with several court rulings in his favour, and no one has ever been punished for the crimes committed against him, his family, or the people who work for him.
Earlier this year (2004), in May, Roy Bennett was forced to sit in Parliament listening to Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa publicly insult him. Roy finally 'saw red' and foolishly shoved Patrick Chinamasa to the floor, a regrettable loss of control that he has subsequently apologised for in Parliament.
The ZANU-PF government however seized the opportunity to use its majority in parliament to sentence Roy Bennett to a years hard labour in prison. The Zimbabwean parliament is the only parliament in Africa that can imprison MPs outside a court of law, and it is not surprising that decisions are made along party political lines and not in the spirit of justice. Even less surprising when the person on trial is a man who overwhelmingly won a seat in what was previously a ZANU-PF stronghold.
Roy is currently serving a jail sentence in squalid inhuman conditions. Reports suggest that Roy is being singled out for particularly demeaning treatment. He needs our help.