Student leaders released after three nights in the cells

zinasu_protestHarare- Zimbabwe National Students' Union (ZINASU) leaders who were arrested over the weekend on charges of misconduct and undermining the authority of the president and cabinet were briefly released Monday and asked to report to the police the following morning.

The leaders Clever Bere, union spokesperson Blessing Vava, Obert Masaraure and NUST SRC president Kurai Hoyi and Great Zimbabwe University student activist Tafadzwa Kutya were arrested on Saturday on allegations of insulting the president.

Their arrest followed a political discussion in a commuter omnibus en-route to Glen View, where one of the student activists, Kutya openly said President Robert Mugabe was the major outstanding issue that was stalling progress in the inclusive government.

“It was after this remark that one passenger on board told the omnibus driver to drive towards the Harare Central Police Station. He made a police report that we were undermining the authority of the president,” said Vava before he went to report to the police on Tuesday 13 October 2009.

He said they were immediately arrested upon arrival at the police station.

“The police officers attacked us using sjamboks, fists and baton sticks.

There was nothing we could do because we were all in handcuffs,” he said.

The student leaders received treatment at Avenues Clinic yesterday evening for various injuries sustained from the beatings. Human rights lawyer Zviko Chadambuka represented the students.

Police spokesperson Andrew Phiri confirmed the arrest adding that investigations were still underway.

Bere described the arrests as “unfortunate and has shown lack of willingness of any meaningful reform by the police department”.

“In this transitional period, we had hoped to see meaningful reforms on the part of the police but the situation is deteriorating at an alarming level.

Inmates are still being subjected to inhumane and degrading treatment while in detention,” said Bere.

He said as students they are worried and concerned about the continued onslaught on student activists countrywide and appealed to the Co-Ministers of Home Affairs Giles Mutsekwa and Kembo Mohadi to “deal with students in a more civilised manner”.

Post published in: Politics

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