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Press Statement
Sean McCormack, Spokesman
Washington, DC
June 7, 2007


Detention of Jenni Williams

The United States condemns the Government of Zimbabwe's violent suppression of a peaceful demonstration June 6 in Bulawayo by Women of Zimbabwe Arise! (WOZA!). Police used batons against some 200 demonstrators, detaining seven activists, including WOZA! National Coordinator Jenni Williams, the recipient of Secretary Rice's 2007 International Women of Courage Award for Africa, and denying them access to their lawyers. In light of recent public threats by police to harm Ms. Williams, we express concern and hold the government accountable for her safety.

This latest aggression against civil society, coming on the heels of attacks this spring against opposition leaders, highlights the need for dialogue among all stakeholders concerned with halting Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis. We call on the Government of Zimbabwe to release the detainees immediately, to allow for their medical treatment, and to grant access to their lawyers. We again call on the Government of Zimbabwe to respect the rule of law, including an immediate halt to the violent suppression of democracy activists, and the rights of all Zimbabweans to petition their government for change.

2007/451

Released on June 7, 2007

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