13 March 2017

Zimbabwe: Zim Police Must Compensate Torture Victims

Mutare — ZIMBABWEAN courts have ordered the deduction from a police officer's salary as compensation for torturing a high school student to induce a confession. Pupil Brighton Sanyanga had in 2014 been tortured at a fearsome police station east of the country in a case of malicious damage to property after student rioting.

The Mutare Magistrates' Court has granted an application to garnish US$100 (R1 300) per month from Constable Crispen Chikazhe in satisfaction of a judgment debt, which was granted against the police officer for his brutality when he tortured Sanyanga, then aged 19, of Pafiwa High School in Mutasa District in Manicaland Province. Sanyanga, who was an "A" level (Matric) student, had been invited for questioning at Nyanga police station. In an effort to extract information from Sanyanga, Chikazhe tortured the student physically by exposing him to electrical shock and threatened to kill him. Sanyanga's lawyer, Peggy Tavagadza, of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) intervened by suing Chikazhe on behalf of the student.

Courts awarded damages in the sum of $570 to Sanyanga, for torture, pain and suffering, medical expenses and transport costs. Chikazhe reneged prompting Tavagadza to file an application in the court in January seeking an order to compel the Salary Services Bureau, which processes government employees' salaries, to garnish the officer's salary. This is not the first time ZLHR has intervened after police officers at Nyanga police station tortured locals. In one of the cases, two officers were ordered to pay $3 000 in damages for torturing hotel security guard Tsitsi Chimhutu when they were investigating a break-in at Montclair Hotel last year. Officers tortured her to induce a confession in a case of $2 500 which had gone missing. - CAJ News

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