ZIMBABWE

UN torture expert barred from entering country

The United Nations' special rapporteur on torture, Manfred Nowak (pictured) who was barred from entering the country by Zimbabwean security agents Wednesday, is being sent back to South Africa.

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AFP- The United Nations' special rapporteur on torture who was barred from entering Zimbabwe to meet Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai will on Thursday fly back to South Africa, his office said.

"They are on their way back to Johannesburg and they will decide their next step," Claudia de la Fuente told AFP speaking for the office of Manfred Nowak.

Nowak and his team were due to resume an eight-day fact-finding mission to investigate alleged human rights abuses and arrests targeting supporters of Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change.

He was barred by immigration officers from entering the country, shortly after landing in Harare on Wednesday evening.

Zimbabwe state media said the government cancelled his invitation as it coincided with a regional bloc meeting to discuss the country's power-sharing agreement.

"Government had already communicated to him that he would have to visit on a later date because the state was presently hosting foreign ministers from the SADC organ on Politics, Defence and Security," the Herald newspaper said.

"We informed Geneva and the UN office here that he should postpone his visit," Foreign Affairs Secretary Joey Bimha told the newspaper.

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