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Lawyers petition police over death in custody

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THE Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) have petitioned the police to furnish them with a full report on how a Harare resident, Raymond Matinyenya, died in their custody in August last year.

REPORT BY STAFF REPORTER

It is alleged Matinyenya was shot dead by police and the family has remained in the dark on how he died.

Last week, ZLHR wrote to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) demanding an explanation.

“We note with grave concern that to date you have not bothered to formally advise the family of the late Raymond Matinyenya of the circumstances relating to his demise,” reads a letter, addressed to the Officer Commanding Vehicle Theft Squad.

“To this effect, we have been instructed to demand, as we hereby do, a full report relating to the events leading to the shooting and death of Raymond Matinyenya.”

The lawyers have asked the police to furnish them with a copy of the police docket under which Matinyenya was being investigated and a copy of the State pathologist’s postmortem report which was carried out at Parirenyatwa Hospital.

“Considering the known circumstances of Raymond Matinyenya’s death while he was in your custody, please advise why you have failed to comply with Section 5 of the Inquests Act which places an obligation on you to report this matter to a magistrate,” reads the letter.

Matinyenya’s uncle, John Matinyenya, issued a statement stating the family suspected foul play and did not agree with the police report claiming that he had been shot after attempting to flee.

John said they had asked to see the corpse of his nephew and were directed to the Parirenyatwa Hospital mortuary where they found his body and identified it.

“When the mortuary attendants brought Raymond’s corpse closer to us in the waiting room, I observed the following during the body identification: an inlet gunshot wound on his left side under the jaw or neck, outlet gunshot wound on his right which ruptured his lower and upper jaw, including right nostril, inlet gunshot wound on ribs, bullet wound on his left shoulder, severe bruises on his right and left legs in between both knees and ankles, the back of his head was covered in sand,” said John in the statement.

“Some elements of foul play exist in the matter and I accuse the arresting details and accomplices to have kidnapped Raymond from his residence to assassinate him on the pretext of carrying out investigations.”

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