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Harare Magistrate Orders Probe Of Alleged Police Beating Of Protesters

Harare magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe has ordered an internal police investigation into the alleged beating of two members of the National Constitutional Assembly while in custody at the Harare Central station after being arrested for demonstrating.

NCA provincial official Marko Shoko and member Frank Nyagumbo were arrested in central Harare on Wednesday with NCA Chairman Lovemore Madhuku.

Magistrate Guvamombe also released the three civic activists on bail.

More than 200 members of the NCA took to the streets to press Harare on introducing what the NCA calls a "people-driven" constitution.

Reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe interviewed NCA lawyer Alec Muchadehama.

The alleged beating of the NCA members comes about six weeks after leaders of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions similarly accused the police of torturing them while they were being held at Matapi police station, Harare. on Sept. 13.

A report issued Tuesday by Human Rights Watch said the Zimbabwean government has intensified the use of repressive tactics against opponents in the past three years, including calculated police brutality against those protesting deteriorating conditions.

In the report, entitled "You Will Be Thoroughly Beaten," the New York-based advocacy organization details cases in which the police, army and other elements of Zimbabwe's state security apparatus allegedly used brutal force and violated the human rights of opposition supporters, civil activists, human rights lawyers and journalists.

The report's title is drawn from comments by President Robert Mugabe on Sept. 23 to Zimbabwean embassy staff in Cairo, Egypt, in reference to the alleged severe beating administered to leaders of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions on Sept. 13

More reports from VOA Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...