from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE, (CAJ News) – THE journalist and opposition politician alleged to be ringleaders of the tragic demonstrations in Zimbabwe have reportedly been denied food as well as access to warm clothing and their lawyers.
Journalist Hopewell Chin’ono and opposition leader, Jacob Ngarivhume, are held on the charges at the dreaded Chikurubi Maxium Prison, where they were moved to from the Harare Remand Prison last Friday, without the knowledge of their lawyers.
They were strip searched, shackled in leg irons and eventually moved at night.
The Zimbabwe lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) decried the changes, which were said to have been ordered by the administration of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
This, according to the legal group, is interference by the executive in the dispensation of justice.
ZLHR reported Chin’ ono and Ngarivhume had not been allowed access to food brought by their lawyers yet they were on medication and the sadza (maize meal) that is served in prisons was not conducive to their medicine.
Zimbabwe Prisons Services (ZPS) officers allegedly insisted the food from outside was not permitted because of the outbreak of coronavirus.
It further emerged the accused pair were not provided with jerseys apparently because Chikurubi had run out of stock.
Lawyers alleged ZPS turned down their offer to provide the clients with jerseys because only red and white prison jerseys were allowed.
When Chin’ono and Ngarivhume’s lawyers visited their clients on On Saturday, lawyers were denied access to consult the two prisoners in private.
“The harsh treatment of Chin’ono and Ngarivhume undermines the presumption of innocence,” ZLHR stated.
Chin’ono and Ngarivhume, who were denied bail last week, are facing charges of inciting Zimbabweans to turn against the government.
Police and the military violently cracked down on the protests that were scheduled for July 31.
Scores of activists and critics have been arrested and others tortured.
– CAJ News