Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe dissidents denied treatment

2011-03-01 07:46

Special Report

Harare - Prison authorities in Zimbabwe have ignored court orders for 12 activists accused of planning an Egyptian-style uprising against President Robert Mugabe to receive medical treatment for torture-inflicted injuries, their lawyer said Monday.

The dozen accused were part of a larger group of around 45 lawyers, students and trade unionists raided by police on February 19 during a private meeting on the situation in Egypt - during which they were watching a DVD of news clips of the unrest.

All now stand accused of treason, which carries the death penalty. They have been in custody for 10 days, and complained of various abuses and torture.

A Harare magistrate was told last week that the 12 were lashed on the soles of their feet with broomsticks by secret police interrogators attempting to force them to admit they were plotting Mugabe's overthrow by mass demonstrations.

He halted the hearing and ordered that they be examined and treated, and for a report to be submitted when the court reconvened on Monday.

However, the men have not been treated, beyond being given general painkillers, their lawyer Rose Hanzi said.

Human rights lawyers say there has been a spate of arrests around the country for alleged political offences since the overthrow of Tunisian strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Mugabe has been in power for 31 years, presiding over a country which descended into economic chaos and hyper-inflation, and widespread intimidation, brutality and killings after the presidential election of 2008.

- SAPA

Read more on:    zimbabwe  |  southern africa
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