By Mthulisi Mathuthu
SW Radio Africa
10 April 2014
Three Inyanga-based police officers are learning the hard way that torture does not pay after they were forced to personally compensate a 53 year old mother whom they brutally tortured in November last year.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) sued Tafadzwa Nheya, Misheck Magadzire and Hard Mazivire in their personal capacities on behalf of Felistas Mutsambarudza. The matter was settled out of court with the three officers agreeing to pay their victim combined compensation of $2,500.
A report in the Legal Monitor, a ZLHR newsletter, said last week the trio paid
$1,200 and they should settle the difference before the end of the month or risk having their property attached to settle the claim.
Mutsambarudza was severely assaulted by the trio on the 19th November for failing to produce her son, Lawrence, who was wanted in connection with stock theft. The police failed to arrest Lawrence during the day after he fled his mother’s homestead. The plain clothes police officers returned in the evening with a police vehicle and a dog. On being told that Lawrence was not around, the police assaulted Mutsambarudza and everyone who was present, including a pregnant woman.
According to lawyer Peggy Mapfumo the police used logs to beat people and in the process fractured Mutsambarudza’s hand. The villagers were forced to stand in a straight line and then slapped and then forced to clap hands and chant that the assailants were their fathers. The villagers were also forced to lie on their stomachs and yell out at Lawrence, pleading with him to emerge from his hiding place and save them from the assault.
ZLHR moved in the following day to investigate the matter. An identification parade was later conducted at the Inyanga Police Station resulting in the three officers being nabbed.
Kumbirai Mafunda, a spokesman from the lawyers group, told SW Radio Africa that there is a pattern that is often used by police who commit crimes and then claim that they were executing their duties. He said for that reason it was decided that the trio must be sued in their personal capacities.