Jailed ‘coup plotter’ assaulted in prison

The family of an alleged coup plotter jailed in 2007 has claimed that an attempt was made on his life inside Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison last week. Retired army Captain Albert Matapo and six others had been accused of leading a plot to topple Robert Mugabe and replace him with Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Matapo and his colleagues spent four gruelling years in remand prison as the Mugabe regime ignored several bail orders. It was only last year in May that High Court Judge Joseph Musakwa ordered their release, saying their continued incarceration without trial was unlawful.

Matapo however remained locked up after the state claimed he was facing another charge of trying to escape from jail. Last month he was slapped with a 5 year jail sentence for allegedly trying to escape, of which 2 years were suspended, leaving an effective 3 year term. But according to his family someone wants him dead.

In an exclusive interview with SW Radio Africa one of Matapo’s brothers said Albert was ‘seriously assaulted’ by prison inmates they believe were ‘planted’ members of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO). Raising their suspicions further is that it appeared the assault was sanctioned by prison guards at Chikurubi.

Matapo is said to be ‘seriously ill’ and now confined to a wheel chair after the assault. He is also refusing to take medication provided by the prison as he believes it could be used to kill him. “They have been trying to give him injections but he has refused fearing for his life,” the brother told SW Radio Africa.

Last year SW Radio Africa spoke to Patson Mupfure, one of the alleged coup plotters who was freed. He recounted how they were arrested and tortured alongside other co-accused Nyasha Zivuku, Oncemore Mudzurahona, Emmanuel Marara, Shingirai Mutemachani, Rangarirai Maziofa and Matapo.

Despite Mnangagwa being the supposed beneficiary of the alleged coup plot, the Defence Minister was never arrested or even questioned. Mnangagwa is reported to have described the allegations as "just stupid" leading to speculation a rival ZANU PF faction led by the late Solomon Mujuru might have tried to set him up. SW Radio Africa

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