Chikurubi food riot masterminds back in court

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2020
Pots full of sadza for inmates inside the prison's kitchen.

Eight inmates who were put in solitary confinement for allegedly leading a riot at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison were back in court yesterday claiming that authorities had defied a court order that they be issued with sanitary materials.

BY TINASHE SIBANDA

The eight together with jailed RMG Independent End Time Message church leader Robert Martin Gumbura are accused of masterminding the April 13 riots which left over 10 inmates dead.

Lawyer of eight of the inmates, David Hofisi said his clients had not received sanitary materials as per the court order and had been advised that their relatives were supposed to buy the materials.

Hofisi said they were also not clear of the whereabouts of the accused person’s belongings which included towels, toothbrushes, footwear, soap and jerseys.

Last week, he also highlighted that the inmates were only allowed access to natural light for 15 minutes in 24 hours.

In response, prosecutor Michael Reza representing the State said he was unaware that the inmates have not been provided with sanitary materials as ordered by the court and promised to investigate.

Reza last week said the State had no control over correctional facilities as these were administered under the Prisons Act.

“Prison authorities have travelled a long road and they know the types of prisoners that are put in FB1 (solitary confinement) cells,” he said.

“When one is arrested, he retains all his rights except the one to freedom and in this case the State and courts were being asked to interfere with another arm of the government.”

In giving the ruling, magistrate Tendai Maheve said prison inmates still enjoyed their human rights and thus should be supplied basic sanitation.