Roy Bennett Update

Heather has seen Roy several times recently. Whatever Prison they put Roy in he immediately becomes a problem as the prisoners treat him as a hero and help him as much as possible. The petitions are coming in and we meet shortly to decide what to do next. Keep the pressure up - contact your local MP - even here in Zimbabwe, all politicians are suceptable to pressure from the public. Write to your local media and use the stuff we send out to you. Keeping Roy in the limelight may keep him alive.

MDC may be able to retain Roy as a candidiate in Chimanimani - he would win I am sure and that would be one for the books! His team in Chimanimani are very despondent - they need money and local support, if you are up there - go and see them. Try to help with the transport problems if you live in Harare. Dave Coltart went to try and see Roy but was refused permission. Heather and the kids are fine - just struggling with the pressure and the emotional situation.

Eddie Cross

Roy Bennett Update: January 9th 2005
Not content with imprisoning Roy unjustly and for a minor offence, the Zimbabwean Government continues to persecute him even inside the walls of the prison.

A new prison officer has taken up responsibility for prison security and intelliegence at the Mutoko Jail and it appears that his prime responsibility is to make life more unpleasant for Roy.

Officer Gwanyiwa ensures that any prisoner that appears friendly with Roy or assists him in any way is punished and victimized. The number of other prisoners with whom Roy shares a cell has been increased over the past weeks with no explanation and apparently without the same process happening within the other cells.

When Roy's lawyers went to see him recently they were kept waiting for one and a half hours while Officer Gwanyiwa made frantic calls to Harare trying to thwart their visit. But the lawyers perservered insisting on their right to see their client. They were eventually permitted to see Roy but Gwanyiwa refused to move out of earshot of the conversation between Roy and his lawyers.

We would like to mention how grateful we are to the legal team that assits Roy and the efforts they put in on his behalf. Not only are they happy to make the four hour round trip whenever they think they will be able to see Roy, but they also risk persecution themselves for standing by him so blatantly and determinedly. These are men and women of the highest legal and moral caliber and we thank them.

The food at Mutoko Prison has also deteriorated recently and the lack of daily sustenance is beginning to show on Roy and the other prisoners.

In addition to the hardships being faced by Roy, his wife, Heather, is constantly being frustrated by the prison authorities. They refuse to clarify or allow the visiting rights enjoyed by the other prisoners in a move that can only be described as politically motivated.

The support for Roy and his family continues to grow and they will not cease their struggle until he is freed. This year we are determined to redouble our efforts in an attempt to see true justice delivered to Roy Bennett.

For this we need your support. Please continue to read these updates and pass on the information to your friends and colleagues. Please continue to get more petitions signed. Parliament resumes in Harare on February 8th so we will begin to collect the outstanding petitions from January 16th 2005. If you are unable to hand them in t any of the designated collection points then please e-mail and we will get the petitions from you. We have already collected hundreds of petitions and there are many more coming in.

On a more practical note, we are looking for volunteers to assist in driving the lawyers out to Mutoko. Their own vehicles are not very reliable and they like to visit at least once a week. You as a driver would not be called upon more than once a month but your assistance would be invaluable. If you can help then please e-mail us with the word "driver" in the subject line and we will contact you.

Thank you for your help over the past two and half months and we thank you for your support over the long months ahead.

Friends of Roy Bennet