Police cells overflowing with human waste – arrested UZ students tell court

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By Erica Jecha

FIVE University of Zimbabwe (UZ) students arrested for protesting over hiked tuition fees, suffered degrading and dehumanising treatment at a police station where they were detained, a local magistrate has heard.

The five accused persons were, however, freed Friday after spending two cold nights in custody.

The five, Tinovimba Musengi, Hazel Gwande, Purpose Mangana, Tanyaradzwa Nzvimbo and Charles Moyo appeared before Harare Magistrate, Munashe Chibanda and were remanded out of custody for September 26.

The students through their attorney, Zimbabwe Human Rights lawyer, Tinashe Chinopfukutwa, raised complaints on the dilapidation of infrastructure in the cells citing that “accused persons have been in cells which had no proper flushing systems, in the male holding cells it was actually blocked and waste was overflowing.”

“There was no demarcation of the toilets and no privacy,” he said.

The students were charged with disorderly conduct in a public place, and one state witness is yet to testify against them on their next court date.

The students are said to have started singing, disturbing usual business around midday near a venue that was being used for a conference.

They were later dispersed and arrested at different locations on campus.

Moyo was reportedly arrested whilst making calls threatening other students, who were attending lectures.

Mangana, Gwande and Musengi allegedly disturbed lectures at the Faculty of Engineering at the time of their arrest, whilst Nzvimbo was part of a group of students protesting at the Computer Science department.

The students have since been fighting against the administration and vowed to exhaust all avenues until their pleas were heard.