Zimrights condemns state brutality as it marks anti-torture day

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By Makanaka Masenyama

THE Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) has condemned victimisation and torture of citizens by the state especially during the current lockdown period against the spread of Covid-19.

In a statement to mark the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, Zimrights said it has documented several acts of state brutality under the guise of enforcing the country’s lockdown.

“State apparatus have intensified the use of torture under the cover of Covid-19. During the Covid-19 lock-down, ZimRights has documented several cases of torture perpetrated mainly by the police or with the blessings of the police,” said the group.

“Despite calls for justice and accountability, the state in Zimbabwe has gone on to blame victims for their ordeal, subjecting them to further suffering by sending them to detention centres.

“Detention centres in Zimbabwe are already overcrowded, where inmates find themselves at risk of contracting Covid-19.”

Since the lockdown was declared in March this year, citizens has seen a worrying trend in cases of state brutality with most of the victims accused of violating lockdown regulations by leaving their homes to try and fend for their families.

The incidents have given rise to fears of a repeat to the ill-fated January 2019 protests in which security forces reacted with the killing of 17 civilians, according to independent claims and the maiming of more.

“ZimRights stands in solidarity with victims of torture in Zimbabwe and around the world and call on an immediate end to the victimisation of torture survivors,” said the group while commemorating the day celebrated under the theme ‘The World Stopped! Torture Didn’t!’