US calls Tsvangirai detention in Zimbabwe "deeply disturbing"

Other News Materials 5 June 2008 02:35 (UTC +04:00)

The United States Wednesday called for the immediate release of Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who was detained by police earlier in the day while campaigning for the second round of the country's presidential elections.

"It's a deeply disturbing development," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said. "He should be released immediately, unharmed, untouched."

Tsvangirai was detained along with several other party members about 10 days after he returned from self-imposed exile to contest the run-off against longtime President Robert Mugabe on June 27. Dozens of supporters of Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change Party were killed during his absence.

McCormack called on South Africa and other countries in the region to use more of their "leverage" to bring about a fair election in the poverty-stricken country.

"The leadership of the South African government is, I have to say, uniquely positioned to go to President Mugabe and the leadership there and to encourage them to change their behavior," McCormack said, according to dpa.