Govt compensates Mukoko over torture

HARARE - Government has paid $150 000 in compensation to prominent rights campaigner Jestina Mukoko, tortured by State agents in 2008 over trumped-up terrorism charges.

The settlement, the first of its kind on such a scale paid by government to a victim of torture, follows years of legal proceedings brought by Mukoko’s lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa. 

Mukoko was abducted at dawn in her nightdress by unidentified armed men from her Norton home on December 3, 2008 and tortured before being handed over to the police 19 days later.

Her lawyers successfully argued her rights had been grossly violated. No one was aware of what had happened to her during the 19 days until she appeared before a High Court judge. The High Court ruled that she remain in custody and was placed in Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison pending a remand hearing. 

A High Court judge later declared the detention unlawful and ordered a permanent stay of her proceedings. 

Mukoko, through her award-winning lawyer Mtetwa, had taken legal action against the State demanding compensation for her abduction and torture.

Mtetwa argued that there was serious violation of several of her fundamental rights by State Security agents, including being subjected to torture and inhuman and degrading treatment including simulated drowning, being locked in a freezer and being subjected to physical assaults as her tormenters tried to make her confess to plotting to overthrow the administration of Zimbabwe’s former leader, Robert Mugabe.

The High Court then awarded the damages and also ruled that those who had illegally arrested her could also be indicted.  Mukoko confirmed to news wires that she had indeed been paid. 

“We reached a settlement in October and they were supposed to have paid up by October 31, which did not happen. I was actually thinking that the years were going to build up again, but beginning of December a few days ago, they did credit my account,” she said. 

Mukoko said the compensation could not atone for the trauma and suffering she went through at the hands of the agents who had been “ruthless, merciless and very evil.”

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Comments (1)

and we expect this administration to effect any meaningful change with such diabolical leaders

charera - 16 December 2018

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