23 January 2019

Zimbabwe: Human Rights Commission Blasts Police Evasiveness With Information On Arrested Protesters

Photo: The Standard
Some of the fuel price increase protestors arrive at the Harare Magistrate's Courts.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) yesterday accused the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) of not cooperating with key information relating to the arrest and detention of opposition supporters following a Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) planned three day stay away that turned violent.

Addressing a press conference yesterday, the Commission said they are investigating the killings and torture of civilians by the security forces last week. who opened live ammunition on protesters leaving at least 12 people dead and scores injured in the process.

"One of the Commission teams also sought to monitor and inspect the Harare Central Police Station and to interact with detained persons. Unfortunately, the police officers in charge did not seem to understand the mandate of the ZHRC and after referring the officers to different police officials, denied them the relevant information or entry into the holding cells.

"Interactions with human rights lawyers representing the accused persons revealed that the accused persons had been held for periods exceeding 48 hours and that juveniles were being mixed with adults in holding cells against the international human rights law and standards," the Commission said.

The Commission said it has been frustrated by the law enforcement agents who have not been forthcoming with information.

"Unlike in other previous ZHRC engagements with the ZRP, the police officers were not forthcoming with information and referred all questions to the Officer Commanding Harare Province, who over two days was said to be out of office in a series of meetings," added the Commission.

When reached for comment the national police spokesperson commissioner Charity Charamba demanded questions in writing and had not responded by the time of publishing.

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