Fired After Being Tortured?
In February, 45 Zimbabweans were illegally arrested and detained for merely watching video footage of North African revolutionary activity. In their filthy, lice-infested prison cells, they were brutally tortured and denied medical attention and often food. Six of these individuals still face charges of treason, a crime punishable by death. They are now out on bail and awaiting their next court appearance. To find out more about this case, click here.
Mr. Eddson Chakuma is one of the six still facing charges. He was recently let go by his employer, the United Food & Allied Workers Union of Zimbabwe, for missing time at work while he was in prison. Eddson supports himself, his wife, his child, and his father with his income. Not only did his family go without this money for a month while he was illegally detained, but now that he is without a job, he and his family have no source of income whatsoever. In addition to groceries and utility bills, Eddson also has expensive medical bills from being tortured in prison – he was repeatedly lashed on the bottom of his feet and on his backside.
Eddson’s lawyer is currently preparing an appeal to his employer in hopes of reclaiming his job. If, after two appeals, he is not given his job back, Eddson must appeal to the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare who will try to negotiate an agreement between him and his employer. If this fails, his case will be taken to the Labour Court, a process that can take up to a year. Finally, if the dispute has yet to be resolved at that point, the case will then be taken to the Supreme Court, where a final decision will be made.
Eddson and the others still facing treason charges appear in court on April 20 to hear the latest developments in the treason case. In the meantime, Eddson and his family remain in desperate need of financial assistance to keep up with daily expenses while he continues to fight for his job.
April 28 UPDATE: In today’s hearing, the original decision to fire Eddson was upheld for a second time. His lawyer is now preparing an appeal to the Ministry of Labour.
What you can do
To contact or send financial support to Eddson, please email him at:
To kindly express your support of Eddson, please email his former employer at:
If you belong to a union (or know people who do), Eddson politely asks that you do what you can to mobilize union support for him. Please have the appropriate union member(s) send a message of solidarity for Eddson to his former employer at the email address listed above.
For ongoing updates, please join the following Facebook groups:
“Calling for the Release of Zimbabwean Activists”
“ZIMBABWEANS FOR FREEDOM”
*Note: This article was written in order to generate and spread awareness. Please send this article or the above information to whoever you can and please help out in any way you are able to (and ask others to do the same). Time is of the essence.
*Source: This article was informed by personal communication with Mr. Eddson Chakuma.