We flunked an opportunity to jail Mugabe in 1999 and prevent eight years of murder, mayhem, starvation and disease
The first attempt was in late 1999, when Mugabe came to London on a private shopping spree. As the President's limousine left his hotel, by pre-arranged plan, my three OutRage! co-conspirators - Alistair Williams, Chris Morris and John Hunt - ran into the road, forcing it to halt. I ran from behind, opened the rear door, grabbed Mugabe by the arm, and read him the charge: "President Mugabe, you are under arrest on charges of torture." Mugabe's jaw dropped. His face was contorted with fear. I thought to myself: now you know how your victims feel, except we aren't going to kill you.
My second attempted citizen's arrest was in Brussels in 2001, when I ambushed Mugabe in the lobby of the Hilton Hotel. This time his bodyguards were ready for me. I was beaten unconscious. At one level, this was a good thing, because TV film of the beating helped to alert the world to Mugabe's brutality.
I was left with chipped teeth, and this week I was at the dentist again having more treatment to repair the damage. The beating has also affected my eyesight, memory, concentration, balance and co-ordination. I can still cope, but I am a bit slower than I used to be. These injuries are, however, nothing compared with the terrible tortures inflicted on Mugabe's critics inside Zimbabwe.