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Zimbabwe Activists Sue Ministers and Police Chief, Alleging Torture


The Activists are alleging both physical and mental torture while in detention. According to papers filed in the high court, they are demanding US$300,000 from the state for their experience at the hands of state security agents

Zimbabwe International Socialist Organization leader Munyaradzi Gwisai and five colleagues arrested last year on allegations of trying to overthrow the government, Egypt style, are suing senior government officials alleging they were tortured while in custody.

Those cited include co-home affairs ministers, Kembo Mohadi and Theresa Makoni, Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri and Prisons Commissioner Paradzai Zimondi.

Gwisai, who previously represented Highfield in parliament for the original MDC, is jointly charged with Antoneta Choto, Tatenda Mombeyarara, Edson Chakuma, Hopewell Gumbo and Welcome Zimuto.

The group was arrested in February last year after watching videos of Arab spring uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia.

The Activists are alleging both physical and mental torture while in detention. According to papers filed in the high court, they are demanding US$300,000 from the state for their experience at the hands of state security agents.

Initially they were charged with treason and plotting to overthrow President Robert Mugabe. But their offense was downgraded to conspiracy to commit public violence.

Human rights groups complain many activists are being tortured while in detention, charging the biggest culprits are individuals and youth militia from Mr. Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party and state security agents.

Gwisai’s lawyer, Alec Muchadehama, says his clients face up to 20 years in detention if found guilty. The judgment is expected to be delivered Monday. He says he's confidence his clients will be acquitted.

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