Pope Francis has been criticised for inviting and greeting tyrannical anti-gay Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe at his inaugural mass.
Pope Francis bows down to Robert Mugabe and his wife.
Despite a ban on travelling to the European Union due to his human rights abuses, Mugabe, and his wife and son, were allowed to attend Tuesday’s event.
The Vatican is not part of the EU ban, although Mugabe’s plane was allowed to land in Rome unhindered.
According to the Mail Online, the president was met by a priest at the airport terminal who said: “On behalf of Pope Francis, welcome to the Vatican, welcome to the Holy See.”
The 89-year-old Mugabe and his wife Grace were later filmed and photographed greeting the smiling new Pontif at the Vatican.
Pope Francis went so far as to bow his head in respect to Mugabe, who is said to be a devout catholic.
British human rights campaigner and long-time Mugabe foe said that Francis had “made a huge error of judgement” and “should have shunned Mugabe as a public rebuke for his crimes and as a signal of solidarity with his victims”.
“President Mugabe belongs in the dock at the International Criminal Court, not in the Vatican being feted by the Pope,” added Tatchell. “It is outrageous that the Italian government is not enforcing the EU travel ban on Mugabe.”
As well as his general human rights abuses, 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”.
Tatchell has twice attempted a citizen’s arrest of the Zimbabwean dictator on charges of torture: in London in 1999 and again in Brussels in 2001. In Brussels he was beaten unconscious by President Mugabe’s bodyguards, resulting in brain and eye injuries.