Gay activists nabbed in Zim

HARARE - Police have arrested two members of a gay organisation after they put up a letter in their office from former San Francisco mayor Willie Lewis Brown criticising Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe's opposition to homosexuality, their lawyer said.

HARARE - Police have arrested two members of a gay organisation after they put up a letter in their office from former San Francisco mayor Willie Lewis Brown criticising Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe's opposition to homosexuality, their lawyer said.

Ellen Chadehama, 34, and Ingatius Mhambi, 38, are employees of Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe.

They were arrested on allegations under Zimbabwe's censorship laws on Friday.

Attorney David Hofisi said the two were due to remain in jail until yesterday - Tuesday was a public holiday in Zimbabwe - after police seized the letter from the organisation's suburban offices.

Police said the letter, mounted on an office wall, "undermined the authority of the president," an offence under sweeping security laws carrying a penalty of a fine or brief imprisonment.

Police raided the offices of the gay and HIV-Aids awareness group on Friday, removing documents and files.

Hofisi said he was not allowed to visit the two staff members in jail over the weekend.

"We asked the police to release them to us so we can come with them to court on Wednesday (yesterday), but they have denied that."

The US mayor's letter also commended the local organisation as a champion of gay rights. Brown did not respond to requests for comment left at his San Francisco office

Mugabe has described same-sex partners as "lower than dogs and pigs" but arrests of gays are rare in Zimbabwe. - Sapa-AP

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