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Zimbabwe back on brink

Zimbabwe is on the brink of sliding back into the violence that marred the country following its elections last year, according to a bulletin issued by Amnesty International.

To avert a return to political violence, Amnesty calls on the Southern African Development Community (SADC) foreign ministers — who are visiting Zimbawe Thursday to assess the eight-month old power-sharing government — to also pay attention to the rapidly worsening human rights situation.

In recent weeks several civic leaders have been arrested and there are reports of harassment and intimidation of political opponents of President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF.

Amnesty's stark warning comes a day after the Mugabe government detained and deported the U.N. special rapporteur on torture, Michael Nowak, who was coming to investigate well-documented allegations of systematic state torture. Nowak had been invited by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. At the last minute Mugabe blocked the visit, showing yet again that he is calling the shots in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe's Lawyers for Human Rights and the Law Society of Zimbabwe have also warned of a worsening climate in the country and an unfair application of the law.