AN explosive United States Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour human rights report says 493 Zimbabweans were victims of organised violence and torture by State security agents and Zanu PF activists between January and August 2016.
Source: State sponsored violence hit 493 in Zim – NewsDay Zimbabwe March 8, 2017
BY PAIDAMOYO MUZULU
The statistics on physical and psychological torture are contained in the report released by the US embassy in Harare on Monday.
“Human rights groups reported the continuance of physical and psychological torture perpetrated by security agents and Zanu PF supporters. Reported torture methods included beating victims with sticks, clubs, whips, cables, and sjamboks (a heavy whip); burning; falanga (beating the soles of the feet), electric shock, solitary confinement, sleep deprivation and forcing victims into sex acts,” the report reads.
“According to one [non-governmental organisation] NGO, from January through August, 493 victims of organised violence and torture sought medical treatment and counselling after sustaining injuries in separate incidents across the country. The NGO reported the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) was responsible for 66% of the violations, while Zanu PF supporters were responsible for 25% of the violations.”
The report says nearly 49% of the cases occurred in the capital, Harare. Although the majority of victims did not indicate their political affiliation, more than 30% of all victims associated themselves with the MDC-T, Zimbabwe People First, or other opposition political parties.
Among the victims mentioned in the report are a People’s Democratic Party (PDP) official from Gwanda who was allegedly tortured by State security agents before he was released. Tajamuka/Sesijikile activist Sylvanos Mudzvova, who was abducted from his home in Harare, was subjected to electric shocks on his feet and genitals while being interrogating before his interrogators left him unconscious several miles outside of Harare.
The report also accused the police of using excessive force in dealing with demonstrators.
“Police used excessive force to disperse demonstrators, resulting in injuries. For example, on February 18, police used teargas and water cannons to disperse hundreds of war veterans planning a march on Zanu PF headquarters and on August 26, police used teargas, water cannons, and batons to disperse an estimated crowd of 150 demonstrators who gathered for a march calling for electoral reforms,” the report says.
President Robert Mugabe and his wife remain on a European Union travel ban, while most members of the ruling party’s leadership are barred from travelling to the US on allegations of rights abuses as well as electoral fraud.