MDC activists tortured in prison

The State has been ordered to investigate the inhumane and degrading conditions that the eight MDC activists who are in remand prison facing false charges murdering a police officer are living under at the Harare Remand and Chikurubi Maximum prisons.

Solomon Madzore
Solomon Madzore

The order was made today at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts where the activists were appearing for their routine remand together with 20 other activists who are out on bail after their lawyer, Charles Kwaramba successfully petitioned the court.

Kwaramba said Councillor Tungamirai Madzokere of Ward 32, Glen View was in December last year severely assaulted by a prison guard only identified as Dune and needed urgent prison medical attention but to date nothing has been done in violation of the Prison Act.

During the assault, prison guard Dune threw Madzokere three times against the wall exacerbating injuries to his right hand which the police broke during his arrest in May last year.

The lawyer said in such circumstances of cruelty against inmates, the Prison Act spells out a conciliatory agreement over the assault which could be reached between the two concerned parties but nothing was done, forcing Madzore to seek the help of the Officer in Charge of Harare Prison. The Officer-in-Charge also failed to assist.

“The reason why Madzore was battered by Dune was because he was not willing to remove his prison garb and hand it to another inmate on remand for him to attend court. The councillor suffers from a rare skin infection and cannot share his clothing with anyone,” said Kwaramba.

The councillor needs constant medical attention from this skin infection and the recent injuries but is failing to receive any since he was arrested in May last year.

Two other female activists are in remand prison; Rebecca Mafikeni and Yvonne Musarurwa are incarcerated in solitary confinement at the men’s section at Chikurubi Maximum Prison.

“Since 9 January this year, their tiny cells have raw sewage flowing through and the two are ordered to clean it using bare hands. I don’t know why they are being held at the men’s section of the prison when there is a women’s wing but from what I have heard from the two, the prison officials are claiming that they are facing political charges but we know that their charges are not political but murder,” said Kwaramba.

He said the two were only allowed to go out of their cells for only 20 minutes a day.

“During these 20 minutes they have to do exercises, wash their clothes and bath. They are being treated like hardcore convicted criminals yet they are not, as they are yet to stand trial,” said Kwaramba.

Another activist, Stanford Mangwiro who is at the Harare Remand Prison has had a toothache since his arrest in May but is failing to get access to medical treatment or to have the tooth removed because the prison authorities are not co-operating.

“Most of the inmates are suffering from various ailments but cannot complain to the prison officials as they see those with serious conditions not being attended to,” said Kwaramba.

After filing of the complaints by Kwaramba, the magistrate immediately ordered the State to investigate the claims.

The matter was postponed to 10 February.

Among those in remand prison are; Solomon Madzore, the MDC Youth Assembly chairperson, brothers Lazarus and Stanford Maengahama as well as Phineas Nhatarikwa.

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