Zim dismisses torture claims as 'lies'

2012-05-21 14:07

Harare - Zimbabwe's justice minister said on Monday that reports of torture and violence against political activists were "lies", during a visit by UN rights chief Navi Pillay.

"There is no state-sponsored violence, these are all lies. We told her that there are no torture chambers in Zimbabwe," Patrick Chinamasa said after an hour-long meeting with the UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights.

A South African court on 08 May ordered prosecutors in Pretoria to probe Zimbabwean officials accused of torturing opposition supporters five years ago, citing South Africa's obligations to the International Criminal Court.

The landmark judgment meant that the authorities can investigate and prosecute high-level crimes committed not only in neighbouring Zimbabwe but anywhere else in the world.

"We need to investigate some of these [torture] reports so that we find out if the person was involved in a personal accident, as they can claim that they are torture wounds," Chinamasa said.

"All that has been written [does] not contain details of who was tortured, where were they tortured. We just see reports in the media. We want to know where did it happen, so that police can investigate."

Pillay said she would only comment on her talks at the end of her trip Friday.

Chinamasa said his meeting with Pillay was cordial, but reiterated Zimbabwe's insistence on outlawing "homosexual activities".

Pillay, who is on a five-day visit to Zimbabwe, is expected to meet President Robert Mugabe later in the week.

The 88-year-old president has ruled since independence from Britain in 1980 but following deadly violence around failed elections in 2008, he was forced into a power-sharing government with rival Morgan Tsvangirai, who is now prime minister.

Despite the unity government, rights activists are frequently arrested or harassed in the course of their work.

Pillay's visit comes after an invitation from Harare.

  • Wilbert - 2012-05-21 17:53

    There are not many homosexuals in Zimbabwe Mugabe ha maintained the anti-homosexual for rhetorical reasons. Contrast this with the millions of Zimbabweans who were harassed or raped and over 500 were murdered in April to June 2008 alone for political reasons. The reason why Minister Chinamasa brought up the issue of homosexuals is therefore clear: he would ignore or dismiss all other human rights violations and concentrate of human rights violations against homosexuals. Even if Ms Pillav’s report fails to mention any human rights violations against homosexuals, the Minister will be sure to raise it and defend the government’s position as if the nation’s very existence depended on it! Mugabe has threatened for years to criminalise and now to outlaw homosexual activities. This has become one of his lightning-conduct issues behind which to hide the real burning issues he does not want discussed. The UN has produced critical and wishy-washy human rights reports about Zimbabwe before and Mugabe has continued in his repressive ways regardless. Ms Pillav’s report, whatever it says, will be like water off a duck’s back. The world attention is focussed on the economic crisis in Europe; no one would notice the increased role of Zimbabwe’s State Security Agencies in state sponsored violence, which should come out in Ms Pillav’s report if it is thorough. Zimbabweans will notice and we know the dirty tricks Mugabe has been playing only too well!

      robert.mawere - 2012-05-22 20:24

      hatidzori tsvimbo nekuti gudo ravhara kumeso

  • Padurai - 2012-06-09 07:11

    Mugabe has killed more black people than any whites ever did - this floppy needs to hang in the Hauge!

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