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Zimbabwe Lawyers Say Harare Police Station Not for HIV Positive Inmates

  • Thomas Chiripasi

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) says in a claim before the Supreme Court today Harare Central Police Station is no place for HIV positive inmates.

In February 2011, social rights activist Douglas Muzanenhamo was arrested, along with 44 others, on charges that he was plotting Egyptian-style uprisings in Zimbabwe. Muzanenhamo says that during his detention at Harare Central Police Station, he was not allowed to take prescribed medications.

Later, when Muzanenhamo was at Harare Remand Prison, he alleges that prison officials gave him drugs that were not prescribed by a doctor, which may have harmed his health.

One of Muzanenhamo’s lawyers, Zvikomborero Chadambuka of the ZLHR, told the full Supreme Court today that holding cells at Harare Central Police Station should be declared unfit for people living HIV/AIDS.

Another member of Muzanenhamo’s legal team, Tawanda Zhuwarara, told VOA Studio 7 that Muzanenhamo’s treatment while in detention was a violation of his rights.

Zhuwarara said that Muzanenhamo’s health was negatively impacted during his time in police custody.

Representing the government, state attorney Tinei Dodo urged the judges to dismiss Muzanenhamo’s claims, saying they amount to disputes of facts. In other words, it’s his word against the word of prison officials and it cannot realistically be determined what actually happened.

Mr. Dodo also argued that the case should have been heard in the High Court before the ZLHR approached the Supreme Court.

However, the court reserved its judgment.

Tomorrow the Supreme Court is expected to hear a new matter concerning Jealous Mawarire, the director of the Centre for Elections and Democracy in Southern Africa.
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