|Six sue State for US$2 million|
|Friday, 10 August 2012 00:00|
SIX people, whose charges for public violence were dropped, are now claiming US$2 million from the Government as damages for unlawful arrest, torture and malicious prosecution. They were charged together with University of Zimbabwe law lecturer Munyaradzi Gwisai, who was eventually convicted of the crime.
The combined US$2 million covers damages for unlawful arrest, detention, pain and suffering, assault and torture and malicious prosecution.
The breakdown of the six’s claims is as follows:
lReki Jim US$400 000
lDouglas MuzanenhamoUS$300 000
lFatima Manhando US$350 000
lPeter Garanewako US$300 000
lGodknows Biya US$300 000
lGanidzani NunuUS$350 000
The six have instructed a Harare law firm Mbidzo Muchadehama and Makoni to issue summons in which they cited the co-ministers of Home Affairs Theresa Makone and Kembo Mohadi, Commissioner General of police Augustine Chihuri and the Commissioner of prisons Retired Major General Paradzai Zimondi as defendants.
They were all cited in their official capacities.
On February 19 last year the six together with many others attended a meeting organised by the International Socialist Organisation at Cross Roads Building along Julius Nyerere Way in Harare.
The meeting, according to the six, was to commemorate the life of an HIV/Aids activist Navigator Mugoni and to discuss events in Egypt and Tunisia.
In the middle of the meeting, it is claimed the police broke into the premises and allegedly assaulted the group before arresting them.
They were taken to Harare Central Police Station where they spent five days in the police cells.
It is claimed that the group was subjected to torture, assault, inhuman and degrading treatment at the hands of the police.
Some of the litigants claim they were denied access to medication to the detriment of their health.
They also accused the police of detaining them beyond the statutory limit.
On February 23 when they were taken to court, they were remanded in custody.
At Harare Remand Prison, the six argue that they were detained in solitary cells and denied enough time to see their visitors.
A Harare magistrate finally released them on March 7 the same year after finding no reasonable suspicion that the suspects had committed any offence.
In the defendant’s plea filed by the Civil Division in the Attorney General’s Office, the State denied the allegations.
It was stated in the papers that the gathering was actually unlawful and political with an agenda consistent with subverting the constitutionally elected Government of Zimbabwe.
The assault claims were dismissed as false.
Force, according to the State, was only used to gain entrance into the premises where the meeting was being held. This was after the caretaker refused to allow the officers in.
It is the State’s argument that the plaintiffs did not suffer any damages and that they were not subjected to torture. The State also contends that a warrant for further detention was obtained to allow the police to detain the plaintiffs longer before they were taken to court. The malicious prosecution claims, according to the State, were false and unfounded.