ABOUT 28 victims of torture by State security agents were on Monday morning arrested from a safe house in Harare from where they were receiving treatment and are today expected to appear in court for public violence.
According to the victims’ lawyer Kudzayi Kadzere from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), the victims were accused of setting alight a Zupco bus that was burnt near the Whitehouse area during last week’s demonstrations.
However, Kadzere said the seriously injured victims still needed medical care.
Police reportedly busted the safe house with a search warrant, purportedly looking for senior MDC officials.
“They have been charged with public violence and they are going to appear in court tomorrow (Wednesday). They are being charged with public violence that took place near Whitehouse, where the Zupco bus was burnt along the Bulawayo Road,” Kadzere said.
“They were arrested while receiving treatment at a house in Hatfield, which is a safe place where they were seen by the doctors. They were raided in the night, around midnight. They are seriously injured, but they were put in cells.
“Some of them need continuous care from the doctors and for them to be removed from treatment to police cells is absolutely ridiculous.”
According to NewsDay sources, the victims were battered in Kuwadzana Phase 3 on Sunday on accusations that they participated in the recent protests.
Following the seriousness of their condition, a distress call was made to a medical institution which responded positively and treated them.
The medical institution further kept the victims at a safe place for them to recuperate. During the raid, police reportedly assaulted the victims despite their names not appearing on the warrant they had brought.
Meanwhile, heads of Civil Society Coalitions (CSC) have called on government to withdraw the military from suburbs.
“From the government, we demand an immediate end to the de facto state of emergency in the country and ensure the return of the military personnel to their barracks and the lifting of the curfew imposed across the country,” the CSC heads said in a statement.
They urged the government to respect rights of those arrested and to ensure that the right to a fair trial was respected in accordance with the Constitution as well as the international treaties such as the International Covenant and Political Rights to which Zimbabwe is a party.
“We call upon President (Emmerson) Mnangagwa to immediately acknowledge the extra-judicial killings of civilians and take steps towards identifying and holding the perpetrators accountable,’’ part of the statement read.
Speaking at a media briefing in Harare yesterday, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights executive director Roselyn Hanzi said reports they received were that the judiciary was being infiltrated by politicians.
“Our lawyers were facing challenges where minors were being denied bail and in some instances suspects were not given enough time to prepare for defence.
Some victims are failing to access emergency medical healthcare and the State security agents are putting some impediments, obstructing the victims from accessing emergency medical healthcare,’’ she said.
Hanzi said police and army were going about randomly invading people’s homes and in some cases abducting, torturing and later dumbing victims at police stations.