un expert expelled From zim

HARARE - United Nations torture expert Manfred Nowak said yesterday he would recommend that the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) take action against Zimbabwe after his expulsion from the country.

HARARE - United Nations torture expert Manfred Nowak said yesterday he would recommend that the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) take action against Zimbabwe after his expulsion from the country.

Zimbabwean officials denied him entry and forced him to board a South Africa-bound plane after he was detained by security officials on arrival overnight

Nowak, the UNHRC special rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, told reporters after arriving in South Africa that his mission had failed.

"I think it is the end of the mission. I think I have not been treated by any government in such a rude manner as by the government of Zimbabwe. I'll not go back," he said.

Nowak said he remained concerned about torture in Zimbabwe and would recommend that the UNHRC take action against the country.

"I will report to the Human Rights Council and I will recommend that they take the necessary action against Zimbabwe."

Nowak said action open to the council included the adoption of a resolution condemning Zimbabwe and requesting an investigation or the council could set up an independent investigation team to look into human rights in the country.

He said he had been invited to Zimbabwe by prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai, whose power-sharing deal with President Robert Mugabe is under severe strain.

"I think it sheds light on the present power structure of the unity government if the prime minister invites me for a personal meeting and his office is not in a position to clear my entrance to the country," Nowak said. "That is a very alarming signal about the power structure of the present government."

The urgency of an objective fact-finding by an independent UN expert was highlighted by allegations of the arrest, intimidation and harassment of MDC supporters and of human rights defenders in the past few days, the UN said. - Reuters

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