Sekai Holland back in Sydney


Summary

Bruised, battered and with broken limbs, Sekai Holland arrived in Australia today to a hero's welcome.

The 64-year-old opposition activist is seriously injured after being bashed by Zimbabwean police in March.

It's what many call a scare campaign by Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe's people to silence those who speak out against his 27-year-old regime. But Sekai Holland's voice has only gotten louder.

“We would like the issue of the violation of human rights in Zimbabwe to be taken up in the United Nations so that Mugabe can actually be taken to the International Criminal Court of justice,” Ms Holland told SBS.

Ms Holland is one of the leaders of Zimbabwe's opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change. The brutal attack took place during a protest against the President's rule when hundreds were arrested and beaten up.

After suffering massive injuries, Ms Holland's ordeal wasn't over – she was then detained in Zimbabwe as she was trying to board a plane to South Africa to get urgent medical treatment.

Worried that President Mugabe's spies would come after her again, Sekai left Johannesburg.

“Mugabe has got some sharp shooters to actually kill any of the people that he is accusing of organising to remove him by violence,” she said.

Ms Holland, the secretary of policy for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), will receive medical treatment and trauma counselling at Sydney Private Hospital in Ashfield, in Sydney's inner-west.

The Australian government was forced to help Ms Holland and her husband flee Zimbabwe. She has spent the past three weeks receiving medical treatment at a South African hospital.

"I just want to thank Australia for the tremendous welcome and the tremendous publicity given to the situation in Zimbabwe," she said. "Thank you very much."

She says talk of the Australian cricket team abandoning their tour of the country in September this year over the regime's human rights record is a great starting point.

“The Zimbabweans would feel that for once Australia has not dillydallied about where its alliances are. There should be no ties with Zimbabwe until Mugabe goes,” Ms Holland said.

A move the Australian Government is also strongly supporting, with Prime Minister John Howad saying Mr Mugabe's rule is a disaster for the country.

Mr Howard has offered to indemnify Cricket Australia for the cost of any compensation it has to pay if a tour is cancelled.

The Australian cricket team faces a $2 million fine from the International Cricket Council if it pulls out of the tour, scheduled for September.

Ms Holland will remain in Australia until at least the end of the year, but stopped short of saying she felt safe here, and only that she felt secure.

She said that she plans to eventually return to Zimbabwe.


Bruised, battered and with broken limbs, Sekai Holland arrived in Australia today to a hero's welcome.

The 64-year-old opposition activist is seriously injured after being bashed by Zimbabwean police in March.

It's what many call a scare campaign by Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe's people to silence those who speak out against his 27-year-old regime. But Sekai Holland's voice has only gotten louder.

“We would like the issue of the violation of human rights in Zimbabwe to be taken up in the United Nations so that Mugabe can actually be taken to the International Criminal Court of justice,” Ms Holland told SBS.

Ms Holland is one of the leaders of Zimbabwe's opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change. The brutal attack took place during a protest against the President's rule when hundreds were arrested and beaten up.

After suffering massive injuries, Ms Holland's ordeal wasn't over – she was then detained in Zimbabwe as she was trying to board a plane to South Africa to get urgent medical treatment.

Worried that President Mugabe's spies would come after her again, Sekai left Johannesburg.

“Mugabe has got some sharp shooters to actually kill any of the people that he is accusing of organising to remove him by violence,” she said.

Ms Holland, the secretary of policy for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), will receive medical treatment and trauma counselling at Sydney Private Hospital in Ashfield, in Sydney's inner-west.

The Australian government was forced to help Ms Holland and her husband flee Zimbabwe. She has spent the past three weeks receiving medical treatment at a South African hospital.

"I just want to thank Australia for the tremendous welcome and the tremendous publicity given to the situation in Zimbabwe," she said. "Thank you very much."

She says talk of the Australian cricket team abandoning their tour of the country in September this year over the regime's human rights record is a great starting point.

“The Zimbabweans would feel that for once Australia has not dillydallied about where its alliances are. There should be no ties with Zimbabwe until Mugabe goes,” Ms Holland said.

A move the Australian Government is also strongly supporting, with Prime Minister John Howad saying Mr Mugabe's rule is a disaster for the country.

Mr Howard has offered to indemnify Cricket Australia for the cost of any compensation it has to pay if a tour is cancelled.

The Australian cricket team faces a $2 million fine from the International Cricket Council if it pulls out of the tour, scheduled for September.

Ms Holland will remain in Australia until at least the end of the year, but stopped short of saying she felt safe here, and only that she felt secure.

She said that she plans to eventually return to Zimbabwe.