African Commission  petitioned over abductions  

Mugove Tafirenyika

THE Human Rights Institute of South Africa (Hurisa) has petitioned the African Commission for Human and People’s Rights over the alleged abduction and torture of three MDC youth leaders — Joanna Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova — who staged a flash demonstration in Warren Park, Harare, last week.

This comes after the government has already ordered a full-scale investigation into the alleged abduction and torture by suspected State agents.
In the May 17 petition sent to the chairperson of the African Commission for Human and People’s Rights, Solomon Ayele Dersso, and signed by 26 non-governmental organisations from across the African continent, Hurisa accused President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government of curtailing people’s rights under the guise of the current national lockdown meant to contain the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19).
“State security agents are using the Covid-19 pandemic to instil fear and silence citizens, civil society, dissenting voices and the opposition through the use of abduction, torture and impunity.
“We are calling on the African Commission to condemn the abductions and extrajudicial executions of individuals and group leaders.
“Joanna Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova went missing on May 13, after participating in a demonstration against the hunger currently spreading across the country. They were subjected to torture, inhumane and degrading treatment allegedly by security agents who have reportedly committed atrocities, causing severe trauma during the national lockdown.
“We call on the African Commission to urge the government of Zimbabwe to comply with its obligations under the African Charter, the Maputo Protocol and its Constitution by putting an immediate end to abductions and extrajudicial torture, sexual and gender-based violence,” part of the petition reads.
“We demand that the police forthwith commence a full and thorough criminal investigation to establish what transpired in the abduction and torture of the trio and that the outcome of such investigations is released for the benefit of the general public, including regular progress updates.”
The grouping demanded that the perpetrators of the violations be identified and fully prosecuted in terms of the country’s criminal laws.
“We also demand that the police fully investigate without fear and favour the circumstances of the unlawful arrest and assault of the Mpofu sisters,” it reads further.

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