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Pressure to arrest MDC officials' tormentors

23 May 2020 at 08:53hrs | Views
CIVIC organisations yesterday called on government to institute thorough investigations into allegations of sexual abuse and torture of MDC Alliance officials by State security agents.

Harare West MP Joanah Mamombe, party youth leaders Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova were abducted last Wednesday after being arrested by the police at a roadblock. They were dumped in Bindura after being tortured and are currently hospitalised in Harare.

The arrest, abduction and torture invited widespread condemnation, but the government has indicated it was more concerned with their breach of lockdown measures than probing the alleged abduction and torture.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (the Forum), a grouping of 20 human rights groups, yesterday petitioned Home Affairs Minister Kazembe Kazembe and Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga over the alleged abduction and abuse at the hands of state security agents.

Speaking after handing over the petition to Kazembe and Matanga yesterday, the Forum chairperson Jestina Mukoko said they wanted the perpetrators of the abduction and alleged torture of the three opposition activists to be identified and prosecuted in terms of the criminal laws of Zimbabwe.

"Wherefore in the premise, the petitioner demands that the Commissioner-General of police forthwith commences a full and thorough criminal investigations to establish what transpired in the abduction and torture of Joana Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova, and that the outcome of such investigations be released for the benefit of the general public, including regular progress updates," the petition read in part.

The Forum said 245 other cases of abuse by security agents have been documented by the petitioners since the inception of the COVID-19 national lockdown on March 30 2020, but they were alarmed by the abduction and torture Mamombe, Chimbiri and Marova.

Two Bulawayo women, Nokuthula Mpofu and Ntombizodwa Mpofu were assaulted by six police officers for allegedly breaking lockdown regulations and the petitioners demanded a thorough investigation on the matter and that those responsible should be held accountable.

"The Commissioner-General of Police fully investigate without fear and favour the circumstances of the unlawful arrest and assault of Nokuthula Mpofu and Ntombizodwa Mpofu and that perpetrators of the unlawful arrest and assault of Nokuthula Mpofu and Ntombizodwa Mpofu be identified and that applicable disciplinary and criminal measures be instituted."

The petitioners also want Matanga to conduct "full and thorough investigations into all outstanding reported cases concerning excessive use of force by the police against citizens and ensure accountability of perpetrators" and a probe on all outstanding reported cases of abductions and torture.

"If our leaders are sincere in turning a leaf to a truly new dispensation, the strongest condemnation of these acts is expected and concrete meaningful steps to be taken."

Source - newsday
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