Rights forum: Violence nears pre-2008 levels

THE Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum has likened the on-going crackdown against political activists to the violence which characterized the contentious 2008 elections and left hundreds of opposition supporters either with infirmity or dead.

In its September report, the Forum revealed that 117 people fell victim to organised violence and torture last month. At least 41 were attacked by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and the rest by either members of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) or Zanu PF supporters.

“The force of the violence shown by the State is worrying, as over 10 percent of victims sustained fractures and over 20 percent required hospital admission. Spouses and children of the victims were subjected to beatings when the targeted person could not be located,” read the report which released last week.

Taken from New Zimbabwe.com

“Further, many of the families of the detainees in remand (prisons) were visited by State security agents and threatened.

“All the issues noted in this month’s report are reminiscent of the state violence perpetrated in 2007, and then escalated in April 2008 after the first round of the Presidential electoral process.”

The organisation also expressed concern over an increase in abductions with five cases having been recorded during the same month.

According to the Forum, all those abducted were kidnapped at gun point during the night by men in plain clothes and driving unmarked vehicles.

“All (abductees) were subjected to intense interrogation; physical beatings with blunt objects, barbed wire, and whips and were electrocuted.

“All reported being injected with an unknown substance and three were forced to have sexual intercourse with men or women.”

The report also claims many were denied access to constitutional rights such as access to medical services while in custody.

“Of particular concern is that the majority of these detainees were members of the public going about their daily business and were dragged from the streets by the police during demonstrations and charged with public violence. Many citizens were viciously assaulted in their homes and arrested by the police,” the consortium said.

After MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai missed by a small margin the 51 percent votes required to assume presidency in 2007, President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party resorted to violence means against opposition supporters in the period preceding the run-off of 2007.

Abductions, torture, incarceration, harassment, rape and murder became the order of the day forcing Tsvangirai to withdraw from the race—forcing SADC to mediate—a process which led to the Government of National Unity.

Design and development supported by HURIDOCS.