Anti-torture billboards offensive, say police

police_brutality3BULAWAYO Police here have ordered the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO to pull down billboards and street signs calling for the abolition of torture, saying they were offensive and could cause disharmony, the civil society alliance has said. (Pictured: Police beat up anti-gov

The Forum that brings together several pro-democracy and human rights groups in Zimbabwe has since the beginning of the year run a campaign to raise public awareness against organised violence, torture and other cruel treatment of citizens as part of a drive to end the practice of such inhuman activities in the country.

The NGO group obtained permission from local authorities in Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru, Masvingo, Mutare and Chitungwiza to erect billboards and street signs calling for the abolition of torture. But police in Bulawayo have ordered the Forum to remove the nine billboards mounted across the city, allegedly because they were offensive.

On 5 November 2010 chief superintendent Patrick Moyo and CID officer Samakanda from Bulawayo contacted the Forum demanding that the Forum remove all of its billboards in Bulawayo, the Forum said in a statement last week. The basis given for the removal of these billboards was that they were offensive. However, this claim was not substantiated, the group said. Politically motivated violence, human rights abuses and torture mostly blamed on the police, other state agents and militant supporters of Zanu (PF) party have accompanied every major election in Zimbabwe since the 1999 emergency of the MDC as a potent electoral threat to President Robert Mugabe and his party.

But human rights activists says torture – which is prohibited under Zimbabwes laws – has become entrenched and was no longer limited to political cases but has become widespread in the country with the police increasingly using torture to obtain information even from common criminals.

Post published in: Politics

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