By Tererai Karimakwenda
11 August, 2011
A Harare court ruled on Wednesday that the 7 MDC-T activists, still detained in the case of the murdered policeman in Glen View, must be allowed to have urgent medical treatment.
This is the second time a court has ordered prison officials to allow them to see an independent doctor, after they sustained injuries from alleged police torture while in detention. The first ruling was issued by the court last month, but arrangements were blocked by the prison officials.
The seven are part of a group of 24 MDC-T members who were rounded up randomly by the police after officer Petros Mutedza was killed in Glen View. The other 17 were bailed last month. Witnesses say the cop was killed by unknown assailants at a pub.
The activists, detained at Harare Remand and Chikurubi prisons, have been receiving only pain killers for their injuries for at least 2 months now as prison officials continue to ignore the court order. Defense lawyer Jeremiah Bamu described the injuries as “quite severe” and progressively getting worse.
“The delay can be attributed to a reluctance by prison officials to allow private doctors to come in, even though they have inadequate facilities there,” lawyer Bamu told SW Radio Africa on Thursday. He added that the order granted Wednesday was more specific than the previous ruling.
Regarding the injuries, Bamu said Glen View Councillor Tungamirai Madzokera sustained a broken left hand that is still in a plaster. Stanford Maengahama has a loose tooth that a nurse said had needed to be removed in June and Yvonne Musarurwa has a fractured right hand.
“From the date of arrest on May 29th up till now they were seen by a doctor only once and he did not examine them. He only came to record medical affidavits for the court,” the lawyer explained. The affidavits have still not been delivered to the court and this is causing more delays in the case.
Bamu said the state has also delayed processing indictment papers that are needed by the defense in order to assess the evidence against their clients.
“This is an indication that they have no evidence and they are seeking to prolong their stay in detention for as long as they possibly can”, he said.
The MDC-T said those still in custody are Councillor Madzokera, Rebecca Mafukeni, Yvonne Musarurwa, brothers Stanford and Lazarus Maengahama, Lloyd Chitanda and Phineas Nhatarikwa.
All 24 activists are due in court again on August 19th.
Meanwhile the MDC Youth Assembly issued a statement on Thursday demanding the release of the Glen View activists. “Justice delayed is justice denied. Free them now,” the youth said.
They also accused the state of “dragging” the case because “it has no evidence of the actual sequence of events” that occurred on the day in question.