Human rights defenders hail ruling against police brutality

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Rule of law

Human rights defenders have welcomed the High Court ruling delivered on Tuesday ordering police, army and other law enforcement agents enforcing the national lockdown to stop the inhumane treatment of civilians.

By Nhau Mangirazi

Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum executive director Blessing Gorejena said the order granted by Justices Owen Tagu and Joseph Musakwa was a milestone in ensuring that citizens’ rights were not infringed.

“We welcome the court decision and look forward to see the respective State security agents respecting and abiding by the tenets of the order. They must uphold respect of human dignity, rights and freedoms as ordered by the courts,” Gorejena said.

“Social media is awash with videos and images where members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police and Zimbabwe National Army are assaulting members of the public and subjecting them to all forms of abuse, inhumane and degrading treatment.

“We do not expect such kind of behaviour going forward. We call for a change of approach and greater compliance to this court order. We have to see them respect the Constitution of Zimbabwe.”

The order came after a Karoi woman, Lucia Masvondo, represented by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, approached the court seeking an order compelling law enforcement agents enforcing President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s 21-day national lockdown to stop brutality on civilians.

Masvondo was injured after police and soldiers bashed her and unleashed a dog on her while she was at her Karoi home.

Some members of her family were also mauled by the dog, apart from being beaten up by police details.
About 155 cases of brutality by the police and army on civilians across the country have been documented by human rights lobby groups.

Hurungwe-based human rights defender Edison Maramba said: “We embrace the ruling as we work together in the promotion of human rights. Our challenge is to see the State security agents respecting the order.”

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