By Alois Vinga
THE Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) reports that incarcerated top journalist, Hopewell Chin’ono and opposition leader Jacob Ngarivhume were being denied access to food and warm clothing by prison wardens.
In a statement Sunday, the prominent lawyers group bemoaned the apparent violations on the duo’s constitutionally guaranteed rights.
“We have learnt that the two were not provided with jerseys while in detention as prison officers advised that they did not have any more jerseys in stock.
“Although the two prisoners’ lawyers sought permission to bring in warm clothes, this request was turned down by prison officers insisting that only the red and white prison jerseys are allowed,” ZLHR said.
The lawyers’ group said the two have also gone for days without eating any food because the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) officers are not allowing home prepared food for fear of spreading the deadly Coronavirus.
ZLHR said the duo was also barred from private discussions with lawyers insisting that the order came through the ZPCS top officials.
Chin’ono and Ngarivhume were arrested last month charged with inciting the public to violently overthrow the government in foiled July 31 national protests which were supported by the opposition and civic groups.
They have twice been denied bail by courts.
The lawyers’ group accused ZPCS officers of stripping the duo naked in search of spy cameras on their bodies before transferring them to Chikurubi Maximum Prison.
Said the lawyers’ group, “We urge ZPCS to uphold constitutional provisions which guarantee fundamental rights of arrested and detained persons including Zimbabwe’s regional and internal obligations on the rights of detainees.”
The duo’s arrests have triggered international condemnation of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration with activists in neighbouring countries calling on their governments to take firmer positions on the situation in their troubled neighbour.
However, President Emerson Mnangagwa’s government has dismissed the allegations arguing it is the works of detractors working towards tarnishing the country’s image.