More than 50 arrested after demonstration and maltreated in detention

The month of November saw more than 50 Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) members arrested and detained unlawfully for demonstrating against the high prices of fuel and other basic commodities and for the reduction of taxes and cost of living adjustment on 8 November 2005. The members were arrested and taken to Harare Central Police Station before being taken later to Makoni Police station in army transport where they were detained for more than the 48 hours stipulated in the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act.

The arrests themselves were in clear violation of the rights to freedom of expression, association and movement. The conditions of detention to which the victims were subjected were also well below the conditions stipulated in the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, which was adopted on 30 August 1955, by the First United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and Treatment of Offenders.

The victims were overcrowded in unhealthy conditions and those that were on TB treatment and on Anti Retrovirals (ARVs) were denied access to their treatment. A 6 month old baby was detained along with her mother in an overcrowded cell. The Human Rights Forum deplores the inhuman and degrading conditions of detention to which the victims were held at Makoni Police Station and urges the Government to improve conditions of detention at all Police Stations or simply declare the cells inhabitable for those arrested.

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