Zimbabwe blocks UN expert

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The Independent Online

At the last minute, Zimbabwe yesterday blocked the United Nations' torture investigator from visiting the country where opponents to President Robert Mugabe have been attacked and harassed. But the investigator, Manfred Nowak, vowed to go anyway at the invitation of the Prime Minister.

Zimbabwe had invited Mr Nowak but then told him not to come after he had flown from Vienna to Johannesburg. Mr Nowak told AP Television News that he plans to go to Zimbabwe today and stay through to 4 November to "investigate torture and mistreatment".

He said the government's cancellation of his visit that was to have begun yesterday and the Prime Minister's invitation "leads me to the conclusion that there must be some kind of misunderstanding between different ministers in the government".

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, a longtime opposition leader, had joined the government with his erstwhile foe Mr Mugabe in February, but he withdrew temporarily earlier this month after accusing Mr Mugabe's party of human rights violations.