NEWS ALERT: Calls for UN intervention as soldiers are tortured in Zimbabwe

torture_zimBrutal torture is being meted out to 120 Zimbabwean soldiers at KG V1 Barracks in Harare as members of the army's military intelligence, the military police and the Central Intelligence Organisation intensify interrogation of personnel following the alleged theft of guns from the armoury two weeks ago.

According to news just in from reliable sources, shifts of militia are being transported into the barracks day and night to beat and torture the soldiers.

Today the state-owned newspaper, The Herald, reported that Major Maxwell Samudzi had committed suicide in the military cells. However, the sources warn that he was in fact beaten to death.

Colonel Garira, who is alleged to have master-minded the theft of the weapons, is believed at the time of writing to be close to death.

On October 31, The Zimbabwean newspaper reported that at least 12 soldiers had died the previous week after they were brutally tortured by military intelligence agents following the disappearance of an assortment of guns and bombs from Pomona barracks.

This took place just two days after the government barred United Nations torture expert Manfred Nowak from visiting the country on a mission to probe torture and the treatment of prisoners.

Twelve soldiers died at Two Medical Company Hospital at KGV1 in Harare, while additional soldiers were admitted to hospital following interrogation at the hands of the Military Intelligence Division.

In a sinister twist, soldiers who spoke to The Zimbabwean reported that foreigners were being used for the torture sessions and that they were possibly Congolese or Angolan nationals.

Expressing grave concern for the safety of the soldiers, leading human rights activists warn that once again crimes against humanity are taking place in Zimbabwe.

They are calling on the country’s transitional government to ensure immediate access by medical and legal practitioners to these members of the Zimbabwe National Army.

Calls for UN intervention

The human rights activists are also calling for the urgent intervention of the United Nations Human Rights Council, the highest political body of the UN dealing with human rights.

After Mr Nowak was expelled from Zimbabwe, he told a news conference in Johannesburg that he would ask the UN Human Rights council to investigate the situation in Zimbabwe. He also said the UN would not abandon its work in Zimbabwe.

“I am still very concerned by the serious and credible allegations of torture, ill-treatment and inhuman prison conditions in the country,” Mr Nowak said. “Each hour is critical,” he added.

On December 2, 2008, it was reported that 16 soldiers accused of rioting in Harare had been executed by members of the Presidential Guard death squads.

Three additional soldiers were reported to have died during torture sessions.

Torture is used extensively by President Mugabe and Zanu PF in their desperate bid to retain power.

Trial of Roy Bennett

Today the Harare High Court ruled that lawyers representing Roy Bennett, the Movement for Democratic Change Deputy Minister of Agriculture designate, who is facing terrorism charges and a possible death penalty, could raise allegations the main witness against him was tortured.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says the charges against Bennett are trumped-up and politically motivated.

The planting of arms caches in order to jail political opponents on treason charges – or accusations of the theft of weapons – are favoured ploys used by Zanu PF in order to neutralise or eliminate political opponents.

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Post published in: Politics