By Anna Chibamu
GOVERNMENT must urgently address conditions at the country’s police stations that Parliament’s Thematic Committee on Human Rights says constitute a violation of the rights of detained people.
In a second report on human rights after familiarisation visits to Featherstone, Ngundu, Beitbridge, Gwanda and Plumtree Police Stations this week, the Senate Committee said some of the stations’ toilets in the holding cells use a bucket system to flush out human waste.
“Interviewing rooms have no benches or chairs and suspects were interviewed seated on the floor. Holdings cells infrastructure was constructed in 1962 and nolonger fit for human habitation,” the report said.
“The police officers at Featherstone Police Station washed blankets but they did not have adequate protective clothing. Sanitary pads were not provided for female accused persons. The accused persons took baths in the same room they slept with no ancillaries.”
At Harare Central Police station, the report shows the cells are in a dilapidated state and blankets were dirty, poor lighting on all three floors and detained persons stayed in overcrowded conditions.
“We were disheartened by the pungent smell that reeked out of the cells because of the grim state of the ablution facility. This exhibited a complete nonconformity to Section 53 of the Constitution with respect to inhumane or degrading treatment. Anyone can fall sick if subjected to the conditions of the police cells for one day,” added the report.
According to the Thematic Committee, facilities at Beitbridge and Gwanda Police Stations do not accommodate people with disabilities.