THE Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (Galz) has petitioned the police to release property they seized when they raided the organisation’s Harare offices in August.Report by Feluna Nleya
The police ransacked the Galz offices in Milton Park and confiscated property, which included computers, compact discs, pamphlets and various documents, on allegations that the organisation was operating without registration as required under Private Voluntary Organisations Act.
In a letter addressed to the police, Galz lawyer Tonderai Bhatasara said the property should be returned to the organisation because they were not linked to any commission of a crime.
“After a thorough and meticulous verification by your officers, it appears to us that there is no evidence of the commission of any crime and that the seized items are not linked to any offence,” Bhatasara said in the letter to the police.
But the police at Harare Central Police Station wrote back saying they would not release the property until completion of their probe. The police said they wanted to use the property as exhibits in court.
“Investigations are still ongoing on this matter where Galz, while being represented by Martha Tholanah, is being charged with contravening Section 6(3) of the Private Voluntary Organisations Act: commencing or carrying out activities without being registered as a private organisation,” read the letter from the police.
“As such, all the indicated property which was recovered from Galz is respectfully held and being treated as exhibits to the above matter.”
At the time of the raid, police accused Galz of possessing materials that promoted homosexuality.
Homosexuality is not per se illegal in the country, but the political leaders, especially President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF, condemn gays.
Mugabe and his party want homosexuality banned through a provision in the new constitution currently being crafted.