Cease Torture, Cruel, Inhumane and Degrading Treatment of Suspects

ZIMBABWE Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) hereby expresses its grave concern and displeasure at the gross violation of rights of a suspect by members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police.

ZLHR strongly condemns the use of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment on any suspect.

It has come to our attention that on Tuesday 24 March 2020, at about 1500 hours, three members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police without 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 us is reliable information that we have received to the effect that during his period of detention in police custody, he has suffered/ and continues to suffer the following violations;

  • He has been denied access to his lawyers, despite the lawyers presenting themselves at Harare Central Police Station to represent their client;
  • He has been subjected to acts of torture whilst in police custody. ZLHR is reliably informed that the acts of torture have been ongoing for the duration of his detention in custody. Mawadze has been assaulted with baton sticks and has also been subjected to other gross acts of torture that are indescribable and despicable;
  • On demand, lawyers have not been informed of the criminal charges that Mawadze is facing.

ZLHR 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 reiterates that errant security personnel, who continue to perpetrate torture and other crimes, should be charged in mainstream courts of law and 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 calls upon;

  • 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 are being perpetrated on Mawadze;
  • The National Prosecuting Authority to prosecute those responsible for Mawadze’s torture and other ill-treatment;

Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights