The cost of seeking justice in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwean farmer Mike Campbell , his wife Angela and son-in-law Ben Freeth were abducted and brutally assaulted
Issue date : 11 July 2008

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Zimbabwean farmer Mike Campbell , his wife Angela and son-in-law Ben Freeth  were abducted and brutally assaulted, two weeks before the Southern African Development Community (SADC) tribunal hearing of their case against their eviction by the Mugabe regime’s land reform programme.

They were tortured and forced to sign a withdrawal of their case. Pending the final ruling, the tribunal had blocked the eviction and the family were supposedly enjoying SADC protection. Angela’s arm was broken in two places, while Mike suffered a concussion and a broken collarbone and fingers.

The rest of the family, including four children, escaped. John Worsley-Worswick of Justice for Agriculture (JAG), said Campbell was one of 77 Zimbabwean farmers appealing to the tribunal against their evictions, arguing the constitutional changes in Zimbabwe violate the human rights protection advocated by a treaty, of which Mugabe is a signatory. Member states may not discriminate on grounds of gender, religion, political views, race or ethnicity.

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With a hearing scheduled for 16 July this latest attack sparked a mass exodus of Zimbabwe’s remaining white farmers, reported JAG. “know the Campbell family well. There’s no way they’ll withdraw their case.” Worsley-Worswick said. The forced withdrawal would not hold up in court. – Annelie Coleman

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Annelie Coleman represents Farmer’s Weekly in the Free State, North West and Northern Cape. Agriculture is in her blood. She grew up on a maize farm in the Wesselsbron district where her brother is still continuing with the family business. Annelie is passionate about the area she works in and calls it ‘God’s own country’. She’s particularly interested in beef cattle farming, especially with the indigenous African breeds. She’s an avid reader and owns a comprehensive collection of Africana covering hunting in colonial Africa, missionary history of same period, as well as Rhodesian literature.