By Mary Taruvinga
MDC Alliance spokesperson Fadzayi Mahere, who was Tuesday remanded in custody to Friday on charges of publishing falsehoods, complained in court of the deplorable state of cells at Harare Central Police Station.
She was arrested Monday before being brought to court Tuesday.
However, Mahere told Magistrate Trynos Utahwashe her detention in police cells overnight was unnecessary as her arresting officers had completed their investigations by Monday mid-morning.
“Her detention from that time was unnecessary,” Mahere’s lawyer David Drury told the court adding the conditions of the police cells were “unbearable”.
“They are filled with the stench of stale urine and there no blankets. There were no temperature checks or sanitisers at the police entrance. There is no social distancing in the waiting area or holding cells. No masks are available in the cells as cellmates had old masks.
“There is also no provisions of sanitary ware in the cells. The toilet was a pit latrine surrounded by a puddle of urine. There is no separation with the beds and toilet hole as well as privacy during menstruation.”
Mahere’s lawyer added: “A pungent smell exists because of lack of aeration. The cell blocks are small and seven inmates were crowded in each room. You have to walk barefooted and women take off their undergarments.”
Magistrate Utahwashe said he got worried after receiving such complaints and ordered the state to investigate and bring a full report Friday.
Mahere is facing charges of publishing falsehoods after posting a tweet last week claiming a police officer had struck dead a baby with a baton stick at an illegal pickup point along Second Street in Harare.
Also charged with the same offence are; MDC Alliance lawmaker Job Sikhala and journalist Hopewell Chin’ono. They have also been remanded in custody.