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African Union urges Zimbabwe to 'respect human rights' after Tsvangirai arrest

[JURIST] African Union [official website] chairman Alpha Oumar Konare [Wikipedia profile] Saturday urged Zimbabwe to "respect human rights and democratic principles" in the wake of this week's arrest and alleged abuse [JURIST reports] of opposition leader and presidential hopeful Morgan Tsvangirai [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. Tsvangirai was released [JURIST report] on Wednesday after goverment lawyers failed to appear in court to seek his further detention. Prosecutors may still summon Tsvangirai back.

Tsvangirai left the hospital Friday after receiving treatment for head injuries. On Tuesday, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice [official profile] called for the immediate and unconditional release [press release] of Tsvangirai and other detainees and said that Mugabe is "ruthless and repressive and creates only suffering for the people of Zimbabwe." The foreign ministries of Zimbabwe's Commonwealth partners Britain and Australia [press releases] were similarly critical. Government forces Sunday arrested at least 100 people, among them members of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) [party website] after a scheduled prayer meeting in Harare was declared illegal. Police imposed a three-month ban [JURIST report] on "anti-government" protests last month after a political rally by the MDC led to confrontations between police and citizens around the country. VOA has more.

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