Press release of June 24th, 2022
Zimbabwe: Trial of Tsitsi Dangarembga
PEN-Berlin expresses its solidarity with its member Tsitsi Dangarembga. We call on the anti-corruption court in Harare (Zimbabwe) to immediately drop the case against the writer Dangarembga and the co-accused journalist Julie Barnes. The accusations lack any legal basis and serve no other purpose but to repress and unsettle the two authors.
Tsitsi Dangarembga, who was awarded the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade in 2021, is one of Africa’s leading intellectuals. The two-year trial of her and Julie Barnes is solely politically motivated. The defendants, who have already been summoned 26 times, did not call for violence, breach of the peace, or bigotry at any public gathering or in any other way.
The allegations are as absurd as the claim that both violated existing corona measures. The trial of Dangarembga and Barnes, to be continued next Monday (June 27th) in the Harare Anti-Corruption Court is an attempt by a compliant judiciary to suppress reform movements and silence government critics. The right to freedom of expression is enshrined in the constitution of Zimbabwe!
We stand by our word.