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Zimbabwe deports UN torture investigator

[JURIST] Zimbabwe deported UN special rapporteur on torture Manfred Nowak [official website; JURIST news archive] Thursday, citing concerns over a meeting of Southern African Development Community (SADC) [official website] leaders in the capital city of Harare. Nowak was detained Wednesday evening and placed on a flight to Johannesburg, South Africa, the following morning. Nowak later expressed anger [press release] at being expelled from the country, stating that Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] had invited him. Zimbabwean government officials, however, have criticized Nowak's own conduct in refusing to alter his travel plans after being asked to delay his visit [press release] by two days. Nowak had planned to meet with Tsvangirai to discuss alleged human rights violations [JURIST report] in the country.

Nowak's deportation adds to already high tensions between Tsvangirai and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe [CNN profile; JURIST news archive], whose supporters have been implicated in Nowak's fact-finding mission. Although Tsvangirai and Mugabe formally share power in Zimbabwe's coalition government, earlier this month Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party began boycotting [AP report] Cabinet meetings in response to prosecution of Tsvangirai Cabinet nominee Roy Bennett [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. MDC and Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union–Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) have long vied [BBC backgrounder] for political control of the country, culminating in the formation of the coalition government [JURIST report] last year.

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