Zim Human Rights Record Plumbs New Depth with Prosecution of Pupils over Protest

Three pupils at Gokomere High School are scheduled to stand trial on Monday 7 February 2022 at Masvingo Magistrates Court answering to charges of committing public violence for allegedly protesting against poor diet and learning conditions last year.

The three pupils were recently summoned to appear at Masvingo Magistrates Court to answer to charges of committing public violence as defined in Section 36(1) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.

The three pupils are part of 40 Gokomere High School students, who were left nursing some injuries when they were severely assaulted by some Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers who arrested them on Sunday 7 November 2021 and on Monday 8 November 2021 after they were accused of staging a demonstration at the school against unsuitable learning conditions.

The pupils spent time detained at Masvingo Rural Police Station and were only released on Monday 8 November 2021 following representations made by Martin Mureri of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, who emphasised the need to engage the students’ parents or guardians to the Officer-In-Charge of Masvingo Rural Police Station rather than keeping them in detention.

Last year, Mureri protested against the conduct of police officers who arrested and assaulted the pupils and left them in bad shape.

Mureri asked ZRP officers to probe the brutal assault of the pupils and furnish him with the names of law enforcement agents who ill-treated the students.

But in response, the Officer Commanding Masvingo Province only identified as Assistant Commissioner Mbengwa, told Mureri that the pupils were injured because they were trying to evade arrest and that they were very violent.

Mbengwa stated that ZRP officers were deployed to quell a disturbance and said video evidence and pictures handed over to law enforcement agents by Mureri is inadmissible as they are from an uknown source and do not reveal the identity of any complainant.

Source: Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights

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