Gwisai sues Home Affairs co-ministers


University of Zimbabwe law lecturer and International Socialist Organisation (ISO) general co-ordinator Munyaradzi Gwisai is suing police and Home Affairs co-ministers for $300 000 for damages he reportedly suffered following his arrest in February last year.

Gwisai, who was then charged with allegedly plotting to destabilise government, claims he was tortured by police detectives investigating the matter.

In summons filed at the High Court on October 19, 2011, Gwisai cited Home Affairs co- ministers Theresa Makone and Kembo Mohadi, Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri, Zimbabwe Prisons Service Commissioner Paradzai Zimondi and Officer Commanding CID Law and Order (Harare) Superintendent Charles Ngirishi.

Gwisai’s lawyer Marufu Mandevere said: “Plaintiff suffered general damages for unlawful detention in the sum of $50 000, damages for unlawful arrest in the sum of $50 000, damages for pain and suffering, trauma and contumelia in the sum of $100 000 and damages for assault and torture in police custody in the sum of $100 000.”

Gwisai said the police assaulted him on February 19, 2011 at an ISO meeting.

“In the middle of the meeting and at around 3:30pm, police officers broke and forcibly entered the building. Plaintiff (Gwisai) and others were then assaulted, arrested and taken to Harare Central Police Station,” read Gwisai’s declaration.

“Whilst at Harare Central Police Station, the plaintiff was subjected to assault, torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment at the hands of the police officers who were at all material times acting in concert with or in connivance with one or more of the defendants, either directly or indirectly through their agents and subordinates.”

Gwisai said he was denied medication and suffered severe pain, shock and psychological trauma.

He said he was also detained for five days beyond the statutory limit.

“Plaintiff was detained for five days beyond the statutory limit, he was not shown or advised of any warrant for further detention being applied for and the reason for such further detention beyond the 48 hours.”

He said after he was taken to remand prison he was put in solitary confinement which only allowed him to see relatives for 30 minutes.

But the Attorney-General’s Office has denied the alleged torture charges and filed notice to oppose the application on January 19, 2012.

The matter is yet to be set for hearing.