High Court relief for police persecution victims

The High Court on Wednesday passed a judgement that is likely to put police under check, when it ruled that a victim of harassment be compensated.

High Court judge Makoni ordered compensation for Backie Padzarondora who was assaulted by two Epworth police constables identified as Pereka and Gonzo.

The 68 year old Padzarondora was manhandled by the two details at Epworth Police Station on October 29 last year.

He was handcuffed and struck with fists on the chest and in the stomach for disagreeing with a senior officer in charge of crime at the station.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum then helped the victim claim compensation amounting to $3,000 from the accused details in their individual capacities.

The High Court awarded the same amount as damages against Pereka and Gonzo.

The award was given in keeping with Section 52 of the constitution that provides for freedom from all forms of violence by public and private sources, and Section 53 that allows for freedom from torture or cruel treatment.

Violated individuals or groups of people can now sue public officials, the police included, in their personal capacities.

“The Forum feels that the monopoly of coercive power granted to the security forces in Zimbabwe to use reasonable force in justifiable circumstances should not be abused as a tool to intimidate and harass citizens.

“It is the Forum’s hope that our courts will continue to hold members of the security forces accountable for their actions in an effort to eradicate the culture of impunity which is currently pervasive in Zimbabwe,” the NGO forum.

In the past, police and other security officers tortured, raped and even murdered innocent people in politically motivated persecution but could not be sued in their personal capacities.

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