These photos of 2 years old Nigel were taken by AFP yesterday, Wednesday, January 14 2008, a day after Nigel was released from Maximum Security Prison and five days after we started the petition to free him, which galvanised online opinion amazingly
The Zimbabwean 2 year old toddler, Nigel Mutemagau (above), for whom I started a petition on this blog last Thursday, has been freed from a Maximum Security Prison where he was being kept in solitary confinement with his mother. Nigel was freed on Tuesday, five days after I started the petition on this blog. His mother and father remain in solitary confinement in the Zimbabwean Maximum Security Prison.
Many thanks indeed to the Zimbabwe Lawyers For Human Rights, who have been fighting on this one. And a special thanks to you all for the amazing response we got on this story. I think that in the five days between my publishing his plight on this blog and his release, the world reacted magnificently, which gives me hope and faith in humanity.
The story, which I also put up on Global Voices, was picked up by so many websites and the signatures came in so thick and fast that it was difficult to cope.
Thanks you from us here in Zimbabwe.
I spoke to Beatrice Mtetwa, the Zimbabwean lawyer representing the accused "bandits" a few hours ago, who confirmed that Nigel had been freed on the orders of a judge.
Nigel, it appears, has been released "into care". I am not sure what this means, and I am presuming that he has been released to Child Welfare officers as our petition was suggesting. It is my hope that the lawyers quickly find his relatives, because the trauma this child has suffered requires that he sees someone he recognises immediately, even if he is to live permanently in a Children's Home or "in care".
Beatrice says Nigel "was taken away" and AFP released the photos of him above a few hours ago. Zimbabwean society traditionally ensures that children like Nigel are cared for by relatives of his parents, either grandparents or aunts and uncles. Very rarely and only in hopeless circumstances do we see a child being taken into care.
Still, his release is cause for celebration. And once again, thanks for your concern and thanks to the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.