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Last Updated: Monday, 11 July, 2005, 11:15 GMT 12:15 UK
Zimbabwe detainees suspend strike
Anti-Mugabe protester outside Zimbawe Embassy, London
Detainees fear recrimination under President Robert Mugabe's regime
Zimbabwean asylum seekers protesting at forced deportations have ended their hunger strike pending a High Court hearing on 4 August.

Campaigners said 55 protesters had "temporarily suspended" their action.

"These men and women are still prepared to starve to death if needs be rather than be sent back to the mercy of Mugabe's torturers," a spokesman said.

The Refugee Legal Council will tell the court deportees risk abuse in Zimbabwe because of claiming asylum in the UK.

'No evidence'

Home Office lawyers have said there is no evidence of any systematic abuse of failed asylum seekers returned to Zimbabwe.

But on 6 July, Mr Justice Collins said the risk of ill-treatment made it "arguable" that it was unsafe to send back failed asylum seekers and directed that the issue go to court.

He also suggested that forced deportations be halted until the matter was "sorted out".

We have been given strength to continue knowing that we are not forgotten
Noble Sibanda
UNDZ

On Monday, a spokesman for the United Network of Detained Zimbabweans in the UK (UNDZ), stressed that the action had only been suspended.

But Noble Sibanda added: "Our united resolve and the solid support of some wonderful lawyers and doctors and other human rights activists has helped us to bring our plight and the desperate plight of the people of Zimbabwe to the attention of the British public.

"We have been given strength to continue knowing that we are not forgotten and that MPs and peers are arguing for us in Parliament at Westminster."

A doctor at Homerton University Hospital who examined one of the hunger strikers on Friday, Mqhubel Timbha, said he was in a "very serious condition".

The Home Office said a second hunger striker was taken to hospital on Saturday as a "precaution", adding there were "no concerns over their health at all".


SEE ALSO:
Halt Zimbabwe removals says judge
06 Jul 05 |  UK Politics
UK to continue Zimbabwe returns
27 Jun 05 |  UK Politics


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