Zimbabweans increasingly dying in police custody


Police General Headquarters

from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE, (CAJ News) A Zimbabwean human rights organisation is concerned at the increasing number of civilians dying in police custody.

The victims have allegedly been tortured.

The Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP), which documented the violations, said this underlined the Zimbabwe Republic Police’s (ZRP’s) reputation as the main human rights violators over the past two years.

Officers at ZRP Chivhu in the northeastern Chikomba District stand accused of torturing a woman, Sharai Mukaro, to death during interrogation last month.

She was suspected of withholding money allegedly stolen by her younger sister who had been arrested in Harare, the capital, which is over 140 km away.

According to an autopsy ZPP said it had been shown, Mukaro suffered massive pericardial clot, had large amounts of blood in the upper mediastinum.

This area contains the heart, thymus gland, portions of the esophagus and trachea. She reportedly had raptures in the area of the aorta.

The deceased thus had significant internal bleeding around her heart, which could have resulted in her death.

ZPP said there was no record of any procedures being undertaken against the offending police officers.

“This is not the first case of people dying in the hands of the police,” ZPP stated.

Last year, Eugene Marangwanda, also died in police custody. He was facing a murder charge.

The post mortem indicated he had died from being assaulted by officers at Bindura Police Station in northern Zimbabwe.

Marangwanda’s widow and three children, in June this year began court procedures, jointly suing Police Commissioner, Godwin Matanga, and Home Affairs minister, Kazembe Kazembe.

In March this year, Tatenda Pasinyore was arrested on undisclosed charges yet witness statements indicate that he was subjected to a brutal assault by arresting police officers, which led to his death.

In 2019, a vendor, Hilton Tamangani, died in police detention at Harare Central Police.

ZPP called on the police to act within their mandate when dealing with suspects.

“The Constitution clearly outlines the procedures to be undertaken during the investigation of a crime.”

ZPP disclosed police were responsible for 40 percent of human rights violations in the month of September this year (2021).

In another incident, officers of the ZRP reportedly threw teargas into a bus near Harare, leaving a child injured and other people hospitalised.

– CAJ News





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