MDC-T activists severely tortured and beaten in police custody

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    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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