Zimbabwe: Abducted this evening: MDC employee Pascal Gwezere

We've just received information that MDC employee Pascal Gwezere was abducted today by armed men driving an Isuzu twin-cab in the Mufakose area of Harare at 6.45 pm tonight. We have confirmed that this is true, but apart from those details this is all the information we have at this point.

Earlier today the MDC issued a press release describing how their security administrator, Edith Mashayire, was almost abducted by four armed men, also driving an Isuzu twin-cab. They had guns and claimed she was 'under arrest'. It is unknown at this time whether the same men were involved in Gwazere's abduction or not.

A house belonging to the MDC was raided earlier this week by armed men who claimed they were looking for hidden weapons. They did not have a warrant to search the property.

Towards the end of last year state agents abducted several human rights and civic activists, including Jestina Mukoko from the Zimbabwe Peace Project. Mukoko was recently granted a permanent stay of prosecution of the crimes she was accused of committing, due to the violation of several of her fundamental rights by state agents. One of the violations of her rights included the fact she was unlawfully 'arrested'. Others who were also abducted at this time are still facing charges of sabotage based on the bombing of police stations and railway lines in 2008.

The MDC expressed concern earlier this week that the recent raid on their house may have been a pretext to plant weapons in order to fabricate evidence and justify trumped-up cases against members in their party.

Today's abduction and attempted abduction are worrying reminders of Zanu PF's illegal and violent tactics used against civilians to achieve political objectives.

We'll post an update on Pascal Gwezere's abduction as soon as we have one.