Rights activists trash State’s investigation report



The seven human rights activists facing charges of trying to subvert a constitutional government after attending a workshop in Maldives yesterday trashed an investigation report presented to court describing it as a desktop collection of documents compiled in an office without inspection.

The suspects Beauty Rita Nyamupinga (61) of Communications Services and Allied Union Workers of Zimbabwe was remanded in hospital under prison guard; Sithabile Dewa (34) of Women’s Academy Leadership in Political Science; George Makoni, of Centre for Community Development in Zimbabwe; Tatenda Mombeyarara from the International Socialist Organisation; Gamuchirai Mukura from Community Tolerance Reconciliation and Development (Cotrad); Nyasha Mpahlo of Green Governance Zimbabwe; and Farirai Gumbonzvanda of Rosaria Memorial Trust appeared before magistrate Barbara Mateko yesterday.

Their lawyer Jeremiah Bhamu consented to the presentation of the report in court, but said he will expose the State on the next remand date that it was not an investigation report, but compiled pieces of documents which left the real complaints not answered.

The activists had complained to the court that they were abused upon arrest by the security agents and were refused permission to contact their lawyers and relatives prior to arrest.

They also complained that their belongings were confiscated by the police and also that they were detained at filthy Matapi police cells, conditions they
described as inhuman.

But according to the report presented in court, the State said it interviewed several police detectives who arrested the suspects — Detective Assistant
Inspector Jansen; Detective Constable Shereni; inspector Gasva, officer-in-charge Harare Central Police Station, Assistant Inspector Mandiyambira and Inspector
Chidavaenzi of Matapi Police Station.

All the detectives denied the allegations of abuse and violation of human rights.

Allegations are that the seven travelled to Maldives where they went through a training workshop organised by a Serbia-based non-governmental organisation
called Centre for Applied Non-violent Action and Strategies (Canvas ) with intent to subvert a constitutionally elected government.

It is alleged that during the workshop, they received training on how to mobilise citizens to turn against the government and to engage in acts of civil
disobedience and or resistance to any law during the anticipated national protest by anti-government movements.

The State further alleges that the accused were trained on how to operate small arms, evade arrest during civil unrest and were taught on counter intelligence
and acts of terrorism.

It is averred that on May 27 they were intercepted and arrested at Robert Gabriel Mugabe’s International Airport upon their return from Maldives.

Their personal laptops and cellphones were seized by police and sent to Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe for extraction of
evidence. The court also heard that notes from the workshop were also recovered.