Page last updated at 03:07 GMT, Monday, 9 June 2008 04:07 UK

Zimbabwe vote 'not free and fair'

Mugabe election poster in Zimbabwe. File pic.
Robert Mugabe faces the MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai on 27 June

A "campaign of violence" in Zimbabwe has extinguished any hope of free and fair run-off presidential elections, Human Rights Watch has warned.

In a new report, the New-York-based group says it has extensive evidence linking senior officials loyal to Robert Mugabe with violent incidents.

The report says torture camps have been run by President Mugabe's governing Zanu-PF party and its allies.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai faces Mr Mugabe in the 27 June vote.

The Human Rights Watch report says violence against supporters of Mr Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has worsened in the lead up to the run-off.

"Zimbabweans can't vote freely if they fear their vote may get them killed," said Georgette Gagnon, Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

Overturned ban

The report gives details of dozens of attacks including 36 deaths, citing more than 70 people described as victims and witnesses.

The much-delayed results from the first round in March showed Mr Tsvangirai ahead but not by enough to win outright.

In the past week police have temporarily detained Mr Tsvangirai and some of his key allies.

It also tried to ban MDC rallies - a move that was overturned by Zimbabwe's High Court.

Mr Mugabe is widely accused of economic mismanagement resulting in runaway inflation, soaring unemployment and the decline of Zimbabwe's agricultural sector.

Mr Mugabe blames former colonial power Britain and its Western allies for the crisis.

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