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Court Orders Chihuri, Chombo to Pay Chingwizi Villager $550 for Wrongful Arrest

FILE: A pile of personal property left in the open at the Chingwizi transit camp. Hundreds of families lost their property during their relocation to the camp. (Photo: Human Rights Watch)

A Chiredzi magistrate has ordered Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri and Home Affairs Minister Ignatius Chombo to compensate a Chingwizi villager for wrongful arrest, pain and suffering.

Chiredzi magistrate Tafadzwa Mhlanga on Friday ordered the two to pay $550 to compensate Zulu Jinya for wrongful arrest and pain suffered during his arrest last year.

During the hearing, the court heard that Jinya was severely assaulted by police while in police custody.

One of Jinya’s lawyers, Peggy Tavagadza of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, told Studio 7 over the phone from Chiredzi that the legal team welcomed the court’s ruling.

The attorney said the magistrate was unequivocal in condemning the police practice of assaulting suspects during detention saying it was unlawful for the police to physically punish suspects.

Tavagadza said several Chingiwizi villagers’ cases of public violence are still before the courts.

The Chingwizi villagers’ lawyer told Studio 7 that several people continue to live in squalid conditions ahead of the rainy season adding that they do not know what is awaiting them.

About 3,500 families were left without shelter and food after their homes were swept away by floods at Tokwe Murkosi Dam in Masvingo while many children were left with no access to education.

The government forcibly moved most of the flood victims to Nuanetsi Ranch were they are said to be struggling to survive in an area short of water.

Report by Thomas Chiripasi
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