Accessibility links

Breaking News

Zimbabwe Union Officials Dismiss Police Account of Arrests & Injuries

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions officials arrested and severely injured after demonstrations in Harare September 13 have dismissed the contention by police that they were hurt jumping off a moving police vehicle or resisting arrest.

The ZCTU officials have alleged that they were brutally beaten by police using batons and other instruments through the night following their arrest for attemting to stage a march through the capital to present a petition on living conditions for workers.

In affidavits submitted in court on Tuesday, Zimbabwe's police said the union officials resisted arrest, obliging officers to use “minimum force” to restrain them. It was also maintained that some of the injuries sustained by the labor officials were incurred jumping off police vehicles taking them to the Matapi, Harare, police station.

The police affidavits said the prisoners were never denied food while in custody as the labor officials have alleged. The documents said the prisoners refused to eat food prepared by the police because they suspected it was laced with poison.

The Harare magistrate's court juge dismissed the police report, saying that the police could not investigate themselves. Another investigation has been launched.

Union Vice President Lucia Matibenga said all the arrested demonstrators were severely beaten, and most of them sustained broken limbs.

Matibenga told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe the police investigation merely tried to cover up brutality against the prisoners.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...