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ZINASU leaders arrested & beaten for ‘denigrating’ Mugabe

ZINASU leaders arrested & beaten for ‘denigrating’ Mugabe

December 2009

Five senior members of the Zimbabwe National Student Union were arrested Saturday – on charges of misconduct and undermining the office of the President and Cabinet – for saying “Robert Mugabe is the major outstanding issue that is stalling progress for the inclusive government.”
Clever Bere
Clever Bere
ZINASU National President Clever Bere, National Spokesperson Blessing Vava, Secretary for Education and Research Obert Masaraure, National University of Science and Technology SRC President Kurayi Hoyi and Great Zimbabwe University student activist Tafadzwa Kutya were discussing national issues while travelling in a commuter mini-bus, en-route to Glen View suburb in Harare on Saturday evening.
One of the passengers, a police officer believed to be a member of the CIO, commandeered the commuter bus and ordered the driver to go to Harare Central Police Station, where the five were arrested.
Narrating what happened Bere told SW Radio Africa on Tuesday: “One of the activists said the problem is actually the MDC thinking that the outstanding issues are governors, permanent secretaries and the Attorney General. The outstanding issue is President Robert Mugabe. So that didn’t go down well with one of the passengers, who we later realised was a police detail or an intelligence detail, upon arrival at Harare Central.”
There were other passengers in the mini-bus but the driver was forced to drive them all to the police station by the unidentified police detail. Bere said the other passengers and the driver were too scared to disobey the orders.
On arrival at Harare Central those identified as students were immediately arrested and were thoroughly beaten and tortured by at least 15 police details who accused them of insulting the President.
They were released Monday afternoon after spending two nights in custody. The student leaders were also ordered to report back to Harare Central Police station on Tuesday.
A statement by ZINASU said: “The arrest was quite unfortunate and has shown lack of willingness of any meaningful reform by the police department in this transitional period as inmates are still being subjected to inhumane and degrading treatment while in detention. We are deeply worried and concerned about the continued onslaught on student activists countrywide and we once again appeal to the Co-Ministers of Home Affairs Giles Mutsekwa and Kembo Mohadi to deal with students in a more civilised manner.”
ZINASU said the student leaders, who are being represented by human rights lawyer Zviko Chadambuka, received treatment at Avenues Clinic on Monday evening for various injuries sustained from the beatings.
Violet Gonda, SW Radio Africa