Zim human rights record plumbs new depth with prosecution of pupils over protest

THREE pupils at Gokomere High School are scheduled to stand trial on Monday 7 February 2022 at Masvingo Magistrates Court answering to charges of committing public violence for allegedly protesting against poor diet and learning conditions last year.

Source: Zim human rights record plumbs new depth with prosecution of pupils over protest – The Zimbabwean

The three pupils were recently summoned to appear at Masvingo
Magistrates Court to answer to charges of committing public violence
as defined in Section 36(1) of the Criminal Law (Codification and
Reform) Act.

The three pupils are part of 40 Gokomere High School students, who
were left nursing some injuries when they were severely assaulted by
some Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers who arrested them on
Sunday 7 November 2021 and on Monday 8 November 2021 after they were
accused of staging a demonstration at the school against unsuitable
learning conditions.

The pupils spent time detained at Masvingo Rural Police Station and
were only released on Monday 8 November 2021 following representations
made by Martin Mureri of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, who
emphasised the need to engage the students’ parents or guardians to
the Officer-In-Charge of Masvingo Rural Police Station rather than
keeping them in detention.

Last year, Mureri protested against the conduct of police officers who
arrested and assaulted the pupils and left them in bad shape.

Mureri asked ZRP officers to probe the brutal assault of the pupils
and furnish him with the names of law enforcement agents who
ill-treated the students.

But in response, the Officer Commanding Masvingo Province only
identified as Assistant Commissioner Mbengwa, told Mureri that the
pupils were injured because they were trying to evade arrest and that
they were very violent.

Mbengwa stated that ZRP officers were deployed to quell a disturbance
and said video evidence and pictures handed over to law enforcement
agents by Mureri is inadmissible as they are from an uknown source and
do not reveal the identity of any complainant.