Friday, October 2, 2009

Zimbabwe: ‘Hidden crimes’ of state security agents to be exposed

The hidden crimes of systematic detention, torture and murder committed against MDC activists and pro-democracy campaigners by state security agents will soon be exposed, in a $500 million lawsuit against the government.

Prominent human rights activist Jestina Mukoko and eight MDC activists are suing the government for a record $500 million, after terror charges against them were dropped on Monday by the Supreme Court. The Court granted them all a permanent stay of prosecution because of their illegal detention and torture. They were facing charges of plotting to overthrow Robert Mugabe and recruiting people to train as bandits in Botswana.

Lawyer Harrison Nkomo confirmed on Thursday that he had filed the $500 million lawsuit in Harare on Tuesday. Respondents in the case are the police commissioner, Augustine Chihuri, former Intelligence Minister Didymus Mutasa (who sanctioned the abductions) and several CIO and police officers.

Besides Chihuri and Mutasa, a number of senior security agents and police officers, involved in the planning and execution of the abductions, were named in a court affidavit some months ago. They are: Assistant Director External of the CIO retired Brigadier Asher Walter Tapfumanei; police Superintendents Reggies Chitekwe and Joel Tenderere; Detective Inspectors Elliot Muchada and Joshua Muzanango; Officer Commanding CID Homicide the notorious Crispen Makedenge; Chief Superintendent Peter Magwenzi; Senior Assistant Commissioner Simon Nyathi.

SW Radio Africa has it on good authority that a list of the ‘foot soldiers’ - the actual abductors and torturers within the state apparatus - has been compiled and will be released at the appropriate time. The list is accompanied by a damning dossier that documents what the agents did, when, where and how.

‘Its like you are reading a book from the Nazi torture camps. But we’ve entered a period in the country where human rights violations cannot be ignored any more. The best way to deal with these dastardly acts is to expose the names of the perpetrators,’ a source told us. The source added that the transitional government should be prepared to be held accountable by a critical, questioning populace that is now refusing to be cowed into compliance.

‘We all know ZANU PF still controls the levers of power but gone are days where Robert Mugabe will trample on people’s freedoms with impunity,’ the source added. During the past three decades, Mugabe’s security forces have continually violated the rights of the people of Zimbabwe – they have killed, tortured, raped and massacred with impunity, free from any fear of punishment.

‘This lawsuit will act as a test case to gauge the level of freedoms enjoyed under the unity government. The victims in the lawsuit have been able to document what happened to them since the periods they were abducted,’ our source said.

He added; ‘Historically, mankind has always shown a propensity for inflicting agony upon its fellow man but what these people went through can only be described as hell. The torture techniques, ostensibly designed to extract confessions, were often so brutal that almost all the victims have been left scarred for life. In Mukoko’s case, after she was abducted from her home in Norton in December, she was constantly moved from one police station to another and other places of detention.’

‘She was made to kneel on gravel, punctuated with beatings on the soles of her feet, to try to force her to admit she was recruiting Zimbabweans for military training in neighbouring Botswana,’ the source said.

SW Radio Africa

Source: The Zimbabwean (02/10/2009)

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