The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has expressed grave concern and displeasure at the gross violation of rights of a suspect by members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP).
The lawyers strongly condemned the use of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment on any suspect.
The human rights advocates said it had come to their attention that on Tuesday 24 March 2020, at about 1500 hours, three members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police without a warrant arrested Munyaradzi Mawadze, from his home in Masvingo province. At about 2300 hours, Mawadze was transferred to Harare Central Police Station.
Of particular concern to ZLHR is “reliable information” that it received to the effect that during his period of detention in police custody, the suspect suffered and or continues to suffer the following violations:
o He has been denied access to his lawyers, despite the lawyers presenting themselves at Harare Central Police Station to represent their client;
o He has been subjected to acts of torture whilst in police custody.
ZLHR said it is reliably informed that the acts of torture have been ongoing for the duration of his detention in custody. Mawadze is said to have been assaulted with baton sticks and has also been subjected to other gross acts of torture that are indescribable and despicable:
o On-demand, lawyers have not been informed of the criminal charges that Mawadze is facing.
ZLHR said it deeply regrets the conduct of the police which is a flagrant violation of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, in particular, section 50 which provides for the rights of arrested and detained persons.
“ZLHR wishes to advise members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police that are involved in the human rights violations, that they will be held personally liable and accountable for their violations of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.”
Section 53 of the Constitution prohibits torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
ZLHR reiterated that errant security personnel, who continue to perpetrate torture and other crimes, should be charged in mainstream courts of law and added that judicial officers should make these offences punishable by appropriate penalties, which take into account that this is, in addition, an international crime.
As an organisation that is committed to seeking justice for all victims of torture through litigation and other forms of redress, ZLHR
• The responsible members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police to cease forthwith the brutal acts of torture;
• The Commissioner-General of Police to investigate the alleged acts of torture that is being perpetrated on Mawadze;
• The National Prosecuting Authority to prosecute those responsible for Mawadze’s torture and other ill-treatment.