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Cablegate: Zim Officials Mistreat, Deport Un Special Rapporteur On

VZCZCXRO4428
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHSB #0866/01 3030907
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 300907Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5088
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 2398
RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 3138
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 3250
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1677
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2511
RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2880
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 3298
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5746
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2430
RUZEHAA/CDR USEUCOM INTEL VAIHINGEN GE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC
RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000866

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

AF/S FOR B. WALCH
DRL FOR N. WILETT
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR M. GAVIN
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR L. DOBBINS AND E. LOKEN
STATE PASS TO DOL FOR S. HALEY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV KDEM ASEC UN ZI
SUBJECT: ZIM OFFICIALS MISTREAT, DEPORT UN SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON
TORTURE

-------
SUMMARY
-------

1. (SBU) The UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel,
inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Manfred Nowak, was
deported from Zimbabwe on October 29 after officials at the Harare
International Airport refused him entry the previous evening. He
was scheduled to visit Zimbabwe October 28 through November 4 at the
invitation of Minister of Justice Patrick Chinamasa (ZANU-PF). His
invitation, however, was rescinded on October 26 when the government
told him to postpone his trip. Nowak delayed a day and came to
Harare on October 28 after receiving an invitation to meet with
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. END SUMMARY.

-----------------------------
"Serious Diplomatic Incident"
-----------------------------

2. (U) Manfred Nowak, an Austrian human rights lawyer and the UN
Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading
treatment or punishment was deported from Zimbabwe on the morning of
October 29 after being detained in the airport VIP lounge overnight.
Nowak told a reporter that it was a "serious diplomatic incident."


3. (SBU) Nowak and two assistants arrived at Harare International
Airport at 9:20 p.m. local time on October 28 on the last flight of
the day from Johannesburg, South Africa. Security officials blocked
Nowak's entry and berated him in the baggage collection area before
ordering him to a private office in the airport. When Nowak
explained that he had a letter of invitation from Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai, a security official responded that the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs (MFA) had not cleared the meeting. The UN Deputy
Resident Representative, Lare Sisay, was at the airport to receive
Nowak, but security officials denied him access to Nowak and his
delegation. (NOTE: Nowak arrived on the same flight as officials
from the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Troika, who
observed the incident. END NOTE.)

----------------
Nowak is Furious
----------------

4. (SBU) On arrival in Johannesburg on October 29, Nowak told
journalists that he had "never been treated as rudely by any
government as the Government of Zimbabwe." He further explained
that while he was detained in the airport, he phoned Tsvangirai's
aides who sent a delegation to get him. On arrival, however,
security officials refused to grant the delegation access to the
airport interior and denied knowing Nowak's whereabouts. Nowak also
told the press that if the Prime Minister "is not in a position to
clear my entrance to the country, that is a very, very alarming
signal about the power structure of the government."

-----------------------------------------
Government Invited, then Un-invited Nowak
QGovernment Invited, then Un-invited Nowak
-----------------------------------------

5. (SBU) Minister of Justice Patrick Chinamasa (ZANU-PF) had invited
Nowak to visit Zimbabwe October 28-November 4 on an official
fact-finding mission. The visit came as a surprise to many, as it
was the first invitation from the Zimbabwean government to an

HARARE 00000866 002 OF 002


official working for the UN's Human Rights Council. According to
Sisay, Chinamasa apparently made the invitation in an effort to
regularize relations with human rights bodies without understanding
that, under the terms of reference, Nowak would have free reign to
speak with whomever he chose during his visit. Rather, the
government believed it could control his schedule and limit his
access to torture victims and the NGOs that assist them. Sisay
believes that when the ZANU-PF elements of the government figured
out they could not control Nowak's schedule, they turned off the
visit. Nowak told journalists at his Johannesburg press conference
that "there are certainly some parts of the government who do not
want me to assess the current conditions of torture."

6. (U) On October 26, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs contacted
Nowak's Geneva office and asked him to postpone his visit, stating
that the government "regrets to advise that due to the previously
unanticipated consultative process... the Government of Zimbabwe
will be unable to receive the Special Rapporteur on the proposed
dates." Nowak only learned that the GOZ was rescinding his
invitation after he had arrived in Johannesburg in transit to
Harare. Joey Bimha, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs, told the press on October 29, "We had no option but
to send (Nowak) back because we had informed him that his services
were no longer needed here." Sisay told us he spoke with the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs today to seek an explanation of GOZ
actions. An official told him the visit was inopportune because
government officials needed to attend to the visiting SADC Troika
delegation. When Sisay responded that the SADC visit would only
last a day or two but that Nowak was scheduled to be in Harare for
almost a week, there was no reply.

7. (SBU) Commenting on the incident in the press, MDC Spokesman
Nelson Chamisa described it as "an act of recklessness by ZANU-PF."
He continued, "How on earth can we attract investment when we shun
good will? Investors want confidence and there is no way you can
build that when Zimbabwe behaves like another Burma."

-------
COMMENT
-------

8. (SBU) This is just the latest example of the rapidly escalating
tension in Zimbabwe in the aftermath of the MDC's decision to
disengage from ZANU-PF. In addition, it is notable that a letter of
invitation from the Prime Minister was completely disregarded by the
"security officers" at the airport who went on to lie to
Tsvangirai's delegates about Nowak's whereabouts. Despite visits
earlier this year by prominent human rights figures including
Amnesty International's Secretary General, the window of political
QAmnesty International's Secretary General, the window of political
space is quickly shrinking as ZANU-PF digs in and asserts its power
in the increasingly shaky "inclusive" government. END COMMENT.

PETTERSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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