MDC-T activists severely tortured and beaten in police custody

HARARE – It is feared that MDC-T activists picked up for the murder of a cop in an alleged political brawl have been severaly beaten up while in police custody.

Last Maengehama, one of the 30 MDC-T activists who were rounded-up on Monday night, has reportedly been brutalised. Relatives and lawyers
have been shut out. Frantic efforts by lawyers to gain access to the MDC activists have been rebuffed. Their lawyer Charles Kwaramba of the
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights was crafting an urgent chamber application Wednesday night seeking a court decree for police to
produce the MDC activists.  Their arrest is thought to be part of a campaign to clamp down on the MDC. The MDC has said its officials are
innocent.

At the funeral of the activists, police chief after police chiefs vowed to avenge the cop’s death and to “deal” with the MDC activists.
Numerous calls to the authorities by concerned human rights campaigners have been futile.

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Police sources say the MDC activists have undergone terrible encounter, with hands tied behind them and beaten mercilessly.
Maengehama’s head is said to be  swollen. They are being kept incommunicado and have had no contact so far with either family or
lawyers.

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A police source said they been “interogated.”

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MDC secretary Tendai Biti told a news conference at Harvest House that police must fully investigate this matter.

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“The investigations must be impartial, non- partisan and professional,” Biti said. “This is the only way that the true perpetrators of this crime can be brought to book.

“Typically, before any investigations could be instituted in this matter, the police through its spokesperson rushed to the national
press to blame and condemn the MDC as being responsible for the murder. The MDC totally denies that it was behind this tragedy.”

In order to justify their earlier accusations against the MDC, Biti told reporters,  the police started rounding up and detaining all
known MDC officials and activists in Glenview.

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The Harare Trust, a residents association said it condemns in the strongest terms the murder of people for whatever reason, but
immediately urged the police force to exercise restraint as they investigate the murder of Inspector Mutedza.

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“The expectation from the residents of Harare is that the police must demonstrate the same vigour they have shown in apprehending Inspector
Mutedza’s murder suspects to assist them in their investigations when investigating the murder of other people slain in cold blood by known
people, walking free on our streets,” said a statement from the residents association.

“Details of what transpired in Glen View are still sketchy and the HRT would want to see justice prevail at the end of the day to the
satisfaction of the deceased’s wife and family. The real murderers should be arrested; fairly treated, prosecuted and deterrent sentences
have to be imposed on them.”

Biti said: “We now have it on good authority that some of these including Mr Last Maengahama have been brutally assaulted and are
being denied medical treatment.”

Biti said it was now clear that some Zanu PF elements in the police were using this unfortunate incident to try to convince SADC that MDC
is a violent Party.

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“Our own investigations have revealed that the police officers in question had a fight with patrons at a beer hall following which the
late officer was injured. We call upon the police to look at such things as the relationship between the deceased officer and the
members of the public in that area,” Biti said.

“We reiterate that police must deal decisively in terms of the law with all perpetrators of violence including those who murdered the
likes of Tonderai Ndira, Better Chokururama, Godfrey Kauzani and other victims of state sponsored violence.  Some Zanu PF elements in the
police want to use this unfortunate incident to divert the impending SADC Summit from the real issues.”

Biti said the party feared for the MDC officials’ life during their time in custody.  Another police source close to the Law and Order
Section said the MDC officials have been “brutalised” and “hammered” to the ground, he said.

“They have repeatedly been threatened even by senior officials. It will be hard to escape this,” the source said.

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Biti said the MDC officials picked up were innocent and Zanu PF was trying to use the case to whitewash its own appalling record on
violence.

“However, the MDC expects SADC to endorse the very important resolutions of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation
that was held in Livingstone, Zambia on 31 March 2011.  As we have always said before, we are ready for free and fair elections based on
a clear roadmap that is underwritten by SADC and the AU.  The roadmap must have specific timelines and benchmarks,” Biti said.

“As part of the roadmap, we call upon the parties to undertake serious security sector reforms in view of the partisan behaviour of some of
the security forces.

“Our position has been vindicated by the statements that were made last week by Brigadier General Douglas Nyikayaramba, a senior military
official, calling for an election this year and his declaration Robert Mugabe as the winner before the polls even take place.

“The MDC will call upon the SADC to help end all state – sponsored violence in Zimbabwe. It is this state sponsored violence that poses
the greatest threat to peace and tranquillity in Zimbabwe,” Biti said.

Below are some of the confirmed MDC members who are in custody;

Last Maengahama
Stanley Maengahama
Edison Maengahama
Lazarus Maengahama
Cynthia Manjoro and her unidentified brother
Odius Chitanda
Lloyd Chitanda
Precious Chitanda
Councillor Tungamirai Madzokere
Mavis Madzokere
Ollyn Madzokere
Stefan Takaedzwa
Benjamin Majecha

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