Beatrice Mtetwa lashes out at Zim justice system

RUTENDO RORI

Human rights lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa on Monday blasted the country’s justice system for failing to take action against law enforcement agents who ill-treat suspects.

Mtetwa’s remarks came after  a decision last Friday by Supreme Court judges, Justices Rita Makarau, Elizabeth Gwaunza,  and Susan Mavangira, to acquit two MDC-Alliance activists, Tungamirai Madzokere and Last Maengahama  who were found guilty in 2013 of the 2011 murder  charge of a police officer  by the High Court.

They spent eight years at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison.

The Supreme Court judges , however, ruled that the conviction of Madzokere and Maengahama by the High Court was wrong.

Speaking during a media briefing  held in the capital on Monday , where the two political prisoners also spoke on their persecution, Mtetwa said: “When the arrests were done, one of the accused had a broken wrist and his hand was in plaster because the police were violent. They beat him up to such an extent that they fractured a bone on his arm. The court ordered that there be an investigation on that but we all know that nothing came out of those investigations. We know that not even a single sentence was written by the trial judge to deal with that.”

She added: “My view is, where that happens the courts should make it clear that when you assault suspects, you must face the criminal consequences of that.

“The time that these political activists spent in custody is a time that was unnecessary. The trial judge refused them bail on the basis that they had a strong case as the state had eye-witnesses, but during trial the eyewitnesses disappeared and the inspector who had been claiming that they had eye-witnesses started talking about informers who had no names, no identities and were never called. So, it’s obvious that there never were any eye-witnesses in the first instance. These were just lies that the court was fed,” said Mtetwa.

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