The Center for Applied Non-Violent Action and Strategies (CANVAS) has released a statement denouncing the recent arrests of participants that attended their workshop in Maldives recently.

George Makoni, Nyasha Frank Mpahlo, Tatenda Mombeyarara, Gamuchirai Mukura, Farirai Gumbonzvanda, Stabile Dewa, and Rita Nyampinga have been arrested on subversion charges after attending a training organised by CANVAS “to topple the incumbent government.”

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In the statement, CANVAS decried the abuse of human rights saying the arrests are illegal.

“The Center for Applied Non-Violent Action and Strategies (CANVAS) firmly condemns the illegal arrest of seven (7) Zimbabwean civil society activists on their way home from attending a training workshop organized by CANVAS in the Maldives from May 15 to 19, 2019,” they said.

The detainees have been denied bail so far with six remanded in prison and the seventh, Gamuchirai Mukura, remanded in a public hospital.

During the workshop, the State-controlled newspaper, The Herald, published an article that alleging the detainees of plotting to unseat the constitutionally government.

CANVAS denies the charges levelled against it of training the seven to topple theZANUPF government.

“CANVAS would like to inform Zimbabweans and the international community that the charges against these activists are blatantly false. The charges include: “subversion”, “counterintelligence”, and “being trained in use of small arms”. The activists could face up to twenty years in prison for these charges. The workshop focused on advocacy and civic engagement capacity building such as: Developing Shared Vision of Tomorrow; Civic Engagement; Effective Communications; Protecting Privacy and Security; and Organizational Planning,” they said.

The organisation is calling on the government to immediately release the seven activists.

“CANVAS calls on the Government of Zimbabwe to immediately and unconditionally release the seven (7) activists and follow the rule of law,” said CANVAS.

Get full statement here