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Opposition member tells of beatings in Zimbab -

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(generated from captions) over there. Thank you

again. Thank you, Kerry. Now to the increasingly unstable

situation in Zimbabwe where

over the past two weeks the

Government of President Robert

Mugabe has conducted a brutal

crackdown on disdidn'ts. This

latest campaign of violence and

repretion comes against a

backdrop of chronic food

shortages, staggeringly high inflation and mass

unemployment. Scores of

political opponents have been

detained and severely beaten.

Amongst them 64-year-old

Australian citizen Sekai

Holland, well known in this

country for her anti-apartheid

work in the 70s and 80s. Her

injuries were so bad that she

and her Australian husband were

air lifted to South Africa

where she's been receiving

hospital treatment.

The torture that was being

done was professional, it was

directed at crippling

us. Robert Mugabe's security forces don't discriminate when

it comes to cracking down on

dissent. Sekai Holland may be a

64-year-old grandmother, but

she says she was assaulted by

Zimbabwe's police for hours on

end. A person in riot gear came

up and gave me six cuts on the

leg, six cuts on this side, six

cuts on there, which is when

the breakages occurred. The

former Australian resident is a

leading member of Zimbabwe's

opposition party the Movement

for Democratic Change. Earlier

this month, several party

figures including Opposition

Leader Morgan Tsvangirai were severely beaten after police

broke up a prayer meeting held

in defiance of a Government ban

on political

gatherings. Terrible,

terrible. Sekai Holland was

taken into custody after she

went to a police station to

enquire about her arrested

Opposition colleagues. The

abuse inflicted on Sekai

Holland left her with a broken

leg and arm, shattered knee and

fractured ribs. And on this

right side they whipped me so

that there were blisters which

have led to the skin graft and

I counted 81 lashes. Minimum.

Did you have any moments when

you thought, "I'm not going to

live through this"? When I was

being beaten up, I knew that I

was going to die, I really

did. Sekai Holland survived

only to be denied treatment for

days. We asked for medical

treatment, this was Sunday.

They wouldn't allow us any

treatment until our lawyers

successfully applied to court

to get us to court in the

afternoon on Tuesday, which is

when, of course, on Tuesday

night we were told we had

broken ribs. We don't want

people to start now provoking

us into a situation where we

would have to deal them - deal

with them in a manner which

they will regret. In spite of

the international outrage,

President Robert Mugabe has

publicly backed the latest

brutal crackdown. The police

have the right and the right to

bash, to bash them. They get

arrested and get bashed by the

police. Sekai Holland and her

Australian husband Jim were initially stopped from leaving

Zimbabwe to seek medical help.

It was only after Australian

diplomatic intervention and a

court order that they were

allowed to escape by air

ambulance to South Africa. I

feel very sad, that is the

correct thing to feel, that

most of the 140 people I was

with are not here with me

because all of us were beaten

up. The Holland s, joined the

estimated 3,000 Zimbabweans who

are fleeing across the border into South Africa every

day. Two years ago, tens of

thousands or people were

rendered homes will before

President Mugabe ordered the

wholesale destruction of houses

in Opposition strongholds. Jim

Holland believes many are

escaping the economic hardship

that has befallen them. Well

the whole system is collapsing.

Every aspect of the economy, of

the infrastructure, the lack of

- the living standards for

ordinary people have dropped

dramatically. It's very hard to

get electricity, water, food,

fuel. The prices of household

items are now doubling every

day. Unemployment has soared

bover 80% and life expectiancy

has plunged to just 34 years of

age. We are not safe. There's

no safety. We can't talk to

Zimbabweans about safety,

they're not safe. This activist

fled to South Africa last week.

He said he's been arrested,

detained and beaten by police

in Zimbabwe on numerous

occasions but he feels it's now

too dangerous to remain in the

country. We have some people

that have been persecuted by

Robert Mugabe and some that are

victims that have gone through

his torture clams. Itiay have

joined other dissidents abrort

in coordinating a people's

movement which they hope will

soon peacefully overpower

Zimbabwe. We need to join other

forces and activities that are

takes place back home as part

of the struggle to define and

resolve the crisis in

Zimbabwe. And Sekai Holland

hopes to heed that call

home. Will you go back? Excuse

me , Jim and I have spent 40

years of our lives talking

about Zimbabwe and working on

Zimbabwe. Wouldn't Itsuo just

be a cop out after what they've

done to just decide to go? But

Jim Holland is reluctant to let

his wife return home. I am

obviously not happy about the

risks that she takes but I have

always supported her fully in

her struggle for the liberation

of Zimbabwe. So that's the

price that we're prepared to

pay. When the call comes,

every Zimbabwean will be there,

whatever their race, whatever

their age, whatever they are,

they will be there. The story

that might help crystallise

focus on whether the Australian cricket team should proceed