Allegations of torture by State Agents continue to surface. The majority of the perpetrators were reportedly dressed in army and police uniforms and as such the victims plausibly concluded them to be ZNA and ZRP personnel. Such identity appears to have been confirmed by the use of police and army vehicles and by arrest and detention at police stations following the act of torture.
Most reports have emanated from Harare. Soldiers and police officers have on many occasions been reported as forcing entry into victims’ homes, assaulting them with baton sticks, booted feet and open palms, apparently on the basis of their real or perceived support of the opposition MDC.
DM of Chitungwiza alleged that she was abducted and tortured by ZRP and ZNA forces, on suspicion that she had some MDC information in the house. The state agents are said to have demanded MDC party cards and information from her, even though she had none. FM, a refugee, claims that he has come under harassment from CIO agents, who have accused him of supporting the opposition MDC. He asserts that he is apolitical.
Reports indicate that the violations pertaining to freedom of association and expression were perpetrated mainly around incidents such as the demonstrations held by MDC women in the Harare city centre, the treason trial of the three MDC leaders, Morgan Tsvangirai (MDC President), Welshman Ncube (MDC Secretary General) and Renson Gasela (Gweru Rural MP) as well as the MDC one-week mass action held from 2 to 6 June 2003.
The Human Rights Forum wishes to reiterate its apprehension with regards to the increased use of repressive legislation and state agents to violate human rights, in particular the basic rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly.