More than a dozen people who were arrested during a protest against Zimbabwe’s regime appeared in court on Tuesday with injuries they say were inflicted in custody.
Jeremiah Bamu, from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, said that some were in a critical condition and should be in hospital. Some of them are appearing in court this afternoon with bandages on their heads, he said.
One of those arrested, Gift Siziba, a 26-year-old student at the University of Zimbabwe, cannot use either of his hands. Bones in both hands are believed to be broken.
Most of those who were assaulted say they were grabbed from the streets of the capital, Harare, or hauled off buses and taken to the headquarters of President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party. Once there, they were attacked by men in plainclothes.
Later, they were handed over to police who locked them up in Harare Central Police Station. Some were bleeding and in agony.
A large demonstration against Zimbabwe’s discredited electoral system took place in the capital last Friday. Police and soldiers responded with tear gas, water cannon and baton charges.
About 100 people were then arrested, some 60 of whom appeared before Harare Magistrates’ Court either last Saturday or on Tuesday. They were then remanded and transferred to Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison. We managed to get some of them treated by private doctors who were allowed in by the prison services, said Mr Bamu.
Simba Jemwa, a freelance cameraman who covered the Friday demonstration for Al Jazeera, is among those with post-detention injuries. He has told lawyers that he was taken by men in plainclothes to Zanu-PF headquarters where he says he was assaulted.
Scores of people spent a third day at Harare Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, hoping to see their relatives or friends who were arrested last week. A woman who asked to be identified only by her first name, Patience, said her brother, a nurse, was arrested at a bus stop in central Harare. He was going to get a taxi to work and when he was arrested. I don’t know if he is ok, she said.
Mhiza Chamunorwa, who sells perfume in Market Square called his wife, Daisy, at 1.30pm, and said he had been arrested. We are vendors. All our perfumes are taken now, we have no money for food or rent. We didn’t know about any demonstration, said Daisy Chamunorwa.
The High Court gave permission for the protest, which was called by a coalition of opposition parties. Another demonstration is set to be held this Friday.
News Source TelegraphNews