Tyrant-turned-fashion icon Mugabe turns up in Rome to celebrate a new popedom era

UK HUMAN rights campaigner Peter Tatchell is often pictured wearing a beret, most recently when he was  arrested after protesting against the visit to London of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.


But there’s one beret Tatchell won’t be seen dead sporting: one with Robert Mugabe’s signature.

According to the BBC, the Mugabe label is up there with Versace and and Polo in Zimbabwe.

Lookin' cool with a Robert Mugabe beret

Lookin’ cool with a Robert Mugabe beret

Tatchell, 60, still bears the scars from twice having tried to carry out a citizen’s arrest of the Zimbabwean dictator on charges of torture – in London in 1999 and again in Brussels in 2001 – and we guess he will be less than impressed by this latest fashion rage.

Tatchell – who was beaten unconscious by President Mugabe’s bodyguards in Brussell, resulting in brain and eye injuries – has just issued a statement deploring the fact that Mugabe, 89, a devout Catholic,  pitched up at the Vatican to celebrate the inauguration of Pope Francis.

Pope Francis is no stranger to consorting with human rights abusers

Pope Francis is no stranger to consorting with human rights abusers

Tatchell said:

The Pope has made a huge error of judgement by inviting and greeting the Zimbabwean President. He should have shunned Mugabe as a public rebuke for his crimes and as a signal of solidarity with his victims. President Mugabe should have never been invited in the first place.

His regime has abused the Christian values of love and compassion. It stands accused of kidnapping, detention without trial, torture, rape and murder. President Mugabe belongs in the dock at the International Criminal Court, not in the Vatican being feted by the Pope.

He added:

It is outrageous that the Italian government is not enforcing the EU travel ban on Mugabe. Italy has signed UN human rights conventions but is refusing to enforce them against the Zimbabwean dictator. He can come and go as he pleases, with the connivance of Italian leaders.

What is the point of having human rights laws and travel bans if President Mugabe is allowed to flout them?

Tatchell pointed out that, as well as his general human rights abuses, President Mugabe has incited homophobia, with repeated denunciations and threats against LGBT Zimbabweans; including his claims that gay people are “worse than pigs and dogs” and that they “don’t have any human rights at all”.