Police brutality condemned

HARARE - Zimbabweans urged government to halt the excessive use of force by police after a leaked video of the gruesome beating of protesters by police touched off mass anger.

The footage was gleaned from last week’s stay away, and shows police officers battering people under the soles of their feet using baton sticks.

One woman is seen crying, trying to protect her husband, whom she claimed had recently underwent a medical operation.

Police spokesperson Charity Charamba yesterday said they will investigate the alleged brutality, but quickly dismissed some of the allegations.

“Social media is being abused since last week and false videos have been sent on the social media,” Charamba said, adding that some of the evidence which shows that the information is being twisted is that of pictures of a National Railways of Zimbabwe train, which was alleged to have been burnt by protesters and claims that Choppies Supermarket had been bombed.

She said people were altering pictures and videos taken from other countries, adding that whoever with a video showing police brutality must bring it to the police.

Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo wrote on his Twitter account: “Police brutality is by definition inconsistent with the values and principles of our constitutional democracy! Those who act brutally must face the law!”

MDC spokesperson Obert Gutu said the police must act in a professional way and respect citizens’ fundamental human rights.

“The level of police brutality that we recently witnessed after the highly-successful stay away is shocking. That kind of brutality is reminiscent of the dark ages, it is the kind of police barbarism that was practised by the racist colonial Rhodesian police force and some other such degenerate police forces such as Adolf Hitler’s Gestapo,” Gutu said.

He further castigated the police actions on defenceless and innocent civilians, who were peacefully exercising their constitutional right to demonstrate.

“…(commissioner general of police Augustine) Chihuri and the entire top brass of the Zimbabwe Republic Police should be urgently summoned to appear before the Home Affairs parliamentary portfolio committee to explain when police officers unleashed terror on innocent law-abiding citizens and why they also resorted to criminal activities of torture that, at any rate are tantamount to cruel and degrading treatment of citizens,” Gutu said.

ZimRights director Okay Machisa urged the security services to exercise restraint during demonstrations and to protect the rights of free speech, assembly and political participation guaranteed by the Zimbabwe Constitution.

“…very unconstitutional, very illegal and that video is going to provoke anger of the people of Zimbabwe. It is very sad that police are allowing that to happen…he who plays with a sword shall die with a sword.

“I don’t see any reason why the police continue to torture people when they are arrested and seated. They have no weapons. In the video, the people are arranged in a calm manner, why are they being beaten?” Machisa queried.

He said the police must not act in a manner that provokes people’s anger.

“The video provokes anger. It is uncalled for, unwarranted. Those people are just sitting down and being beaten, that is not very good. It makes everyone angry. From the ZimRights, we are very angry, we have to fight for the rights of the people,” he said.

Early this year, a police officer was forced to compensate a suspect that he assaulted during investigations.

The police officer was condemned by the court over his conduct.

Comments (1)

Lets do the same to their families who are lodgers in our houses. Chase them out and tell them to go and stay at police stations.

Madhebhura - 13 July 2016

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