Mutare Magistrate Innocent Bepura on Tuesday 22 August 2017 began presiding over the trial of some Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers and Home Affairs Minister Ignatius Chombo and Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri who are being sued by some Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) leaders and members for unlawful arrest and detention following their arrest in Mutare, in Manicaland province in September 2016.
The ZINASU members together with other 100 student activists had convened a ZINASU general council meeting in Manicaland province to discuss the welfare of students in tertiary institutions. It was during the course of those discussions that members of the ZRP effected a dragnet arrest on the students and despite demand; they were not advised of the charges levelled against him.
Their arrest and detention was then declared unlawful by Mutare Magistrate Poterai Gwezhira following the intervention of their lawyers.
In summons filed at Mutare Magistrates Court, the ZINASU members’ lawyers Blessing Nyamaropa and Peggy Tavagadza of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights charged that their clients’ liberty was unnecessarily deprived and they were subjected to pain and suffering including psychological harm due to the conditions under which they were detained.
Each one of the ZINASU members is demanding $5 000 as compensation for damages for unlawful arrest and detention, pain and suffering.
By filing civil claims against Chombo, Chihuri and some ZRP members, Tavagadza and Nyamaropa intend to hold the executive arm of the State to account for acts of impunity and ensure protection of the accused person’s rights as enshrined in section 50 of the Constitution.
Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights