Rights group leader jailed to Jan. 30

AP News
Posted: Jan 16, 2013 9:56 AM

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — A Zimbabwe court has refused to release on bail a human rights leader facing allegations of fraud and forgery relating to election documents.

State prosecutors alleged Wednesday that Okay Machisa, head of the independent Zimbabwe Human Rights Association, obtained a voter registration form and made counterfeit copies ahead of elections scheduled later this year.

Machisa, arrested Monday, denies any wrongdoing. He is to be held in jail to reappear in court Jan. 30.

His organization says it routinely monitors election procedures and voter registration and voter education programs in the interests of free and fair polling.

Rights groups have condemned Machisa's arrest as a ploy to intimidate activists in the run up to elections to end a shaky coalition government formed after the last disputed and violent polling in 2008.