GALZ Alert: GALZ Volunteer Youth Coordinator Charged Under P.O.S.A.

Zimbabwe Republic police on Wednesday 12 March 2014 arrested and charged Natasha Dowell, a volunteer youth coordinator with GALZ for allegedly convening a public meeting without authority from the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP).

The police arrested Natasha Dowell and Tawanda Maguze, a training Facilitator at Bronte Hotel in Harare. The two were attending training on basic digital storytelling techniques for multimedia content production and basic mobile and digital security, including data protection and Internet security organised by GALZ. The remaining eighteen training participants had their details recorded and were asked to remain behind at the venue. The participants later left the venue freely.

Police from the Law and Order Section at Harare Central Police Station charged Dowell, who was represented by Tonderai Bhatasara of Mupanga Bhatasara Attorneys, a member of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights with contravening Section 25 (5) of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) Chapter 11:17 and claimed that she should have sought authority from the ZRP to convene the “public” meeting.

Natasha Dowell denied the charge and insisted that GALZ was exempt from complying with the POSA provision. The Police have indicated that they will proceed by way of summons. Tawanda Muguze was released without charge. //ENDS