State defiant on Matapi cells

ROHR Spokesperson, Sten Zvorwadza appeared before Magistrate Tendai Rusinahama to face charges for ‘posing a threat to future violence’ yesterday the 14 th of February at Mbare Magistrate Courts. The trial date was postponed to the 29 th of February after defence lawyer Jeremiah Bamu insisted that it was pertinent for the Supreme Court to determine serious constitutional provisions that were violated when his client was mishandled at Matapi cells during incarceration.

Sten Zvorwadza was arrested on the 28 th of January at Matapi police station trying to file a police report against a group of ZANU PF members who had invaded his business in Mbare. The police accused him of trying to murder the thugs and incarcerated him for three days in filthy cells.

In his submissions defense lawyer Bamu wants the state to take responsibility for violating section 15 of the constitution when his client was subjected to inhuman treatment, tortured, denied water, food and blankets. The state also flouted section 18 and 23a of the constitution in failing to accord Sten Zvorwadza state protection and protecting his right to free political rights when he was further assaulted by a constable in police custody .

Despite the fact that the Supreme Court condemned Matapi cells as unfit for human beings in 2004, nothing has been done to rectify the situation posing a health risk to inmates. ROHR Zimbabwe Chairperson Grace Mupfurutsa condems the continued disregard of constitutional and human rights by institutions mandated to ensure the upholding of the Rule of Law. ‘’ It’s a national issue that requires serious attention. We are concerned about the rights of people who continue to be detained at the health hazard Matapi police station.’’

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