Details emerge on abduction, torture of UZ protest student

2017-07-10 13:50
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Harare - Details have emerged on the abduction and torture of a student activist Fanuel Kaseke, who took part in last month’s fees protest at the University of Zimbabwe.

Kaseke disappeared three days after he attended the demonstration where ThisFlag leader Evan Mawarire was arrested.

Friends, family members and supporters last week issued missing person alerts on social media. Kaseke, who studies political science at UZ, later turned up at a police station in Harare’s Mbare suburb.

Knocked unconscious

Rights lawyers say the 23-year-old activist was abducted while walking home in Chitungwiza, south of Harare.

His abductors – three men and a woman – knocked him unconscious and kept him in a locked and darkened room for five days with just four slices of bread a day to eat.

His captors accused him of having invited Mawarire to the UZ demonstration. He was interrogated over his relationship with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change and the reason for his student activism.

"Kaseke pointed out that the economic hardships that he was facing as a student were motivating him to exercise his constitutional rights," said the ZLHR in a statement.

Five-day detention

"In response to this, the unidentified men would then assault him with open palms, punch him with clenched fists and kick him with booted fee all over his body," it added.

"Some would hold him while one would then beat him up. Kaseke never left the room for the entire five days he was detained there."

On the final day of his ordeal, Kaseke was given water to drink that had been evidently drugged. He passed out and was dumped in Harare’s Mbare suburb. He reported his abduction to a police station there. Police have not commented on the incident.

Echoes of Dzamara

Kaseke’s enforced disappearance echoed the abduction two years ago of anti-government protester Itai Dzamara. Dzamara was snatched from a barber’s shop in Harare by unidentified men and has not been seen since.

"State and non-state actors and the government, who for years have been fingered and held accountable in acts of abduction, enforced disappearance and torture of citizens, need to observe these basic human rights in the interest of upholding the rule of law in Zimbabwe," the lawyers said.

"It remains of great concern that such acts continue to be committed at a time when the scars incurred by victims and survivors of enforced disappearances are yet to heal."

Read more on:    evan mawarire  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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