ZANU PF torture trial begins

justiceJudge President George Chiweshe on Monday started hearing the first of many cases against top government ministers and security officials, for their involvement in the abduction and torture of MDC activists.

The case was originally meant to get underway last month, after Norton MDC activist Mapfumo Garutsa applied to the court for almost US$200,000 in compensation from top officials. Garutsa was abducted in November 2008 and held incommunicado for 22 days, on claims that he committed acts of terrorism and banditry. His captors accused him of bombing two bridges, police stations, and undergoing training in Botswana. Garutsa says he was repeatedly assaulted and denied food during his ordeal.

His case was postponed after Judge President Chiweshe decided it would be heard alongside similar cases of 17 other abductees, who are suing the minister and security officials for more than US$20 million. The process got underway on Monday but there is doubt that the abductees will find justice through the courts. Chiweshe is a known Mugabe loyalist and as former head of the Zimbabwe Election Commission, ensured that the ZANU PF leader retained his grip on power.

Home Affairs co-Minister’s Kembo Mohadi and Giles Mutsekwa, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and former State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa have all been listed in Garutsas case. The activist is also claiming damages from police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri, Prisons Commissioner Paradzai Zimondi, Happyton Bonyongwe, Director General of the Central Intelligence Organisation, Asher Walter Tapfumaneyi (Assistant Director of the CIO) and senior police officers, identified as Senior Assistant Commissioner Nyathi, Chief Superintendent Makedenge, Detective Chief Inspector Mpofu, Chief Superintendent Magwenzi, Superintendent Joel Shasha Tenderere and Superintendent Regis Takaitei.

The senior officials are also facing legal action from a Harare woman who is personally seeking more than US$3 million in damages, after being severely assaulted by police at the time of the abductions. Shamiso Nziramasanga was four months pregnant when she was assaulted by a policeman who threatened her with more violence if she reported the assault. A few days later she was admitted to hospital in severe pain, where doctors found that her uterus had ruptured from the beatings she endured. She lost her baby and also had to undergo an emergency hysterectomy.

Post published in: Politics

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