Magistrate Orders State to Investigate WOZA Assault

07 JULY 2009

HRD’S WATCH

MAGISTRATE ORDERS STATE TO INVESTIGATE ASSAULT OF WOZA MEMBERS

Harare Magistrate Jackie Munyonga on Tuesday 07 July 2009 ordered the State to investigate assault claims lodged by four members of the pressure group Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA).

The four WOZA members, who were arrested during a demonstration organized by WOZA on Thursday 18 June 2009 allege that they were assaulted by police officers whilst in custody and were also denied medical examination and treatment by the police.

Magistrate Munyonga who on Monday 06 July 2009 postponed the WOZA members’ matter to Tuesday 07 July 2009 to allow the State to explain why the four WOZA members had been assaulted in police custody and why they had been denied medical treatment ordered the State represented by prosecutor Public Mpofu to present a detailed report by 13 July 2009 on his finding regarding the assault and the denial of medical attention to the WOZA members.

The WOZA members’ lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa insisted on Monday 06 July 2009 that the matter of the assaults be brought before the Magistrate as the four women were complainants in a case against the police.

On Monday 06 July 2009 State prosecutor Public Mpofu, withdrew the charges of disturbing peace leveled against the four WOZA members after the State failed to identify witnesses whose “peace” had been disturbed following the demonstration by the WOZA members.

By dropping the charges against the WOZA members, the State had hoped to get around the matter of the assaults of the WOZA members whilst in custody.

But Mtetwa insisted on having her clients' grievances addressed by the court to which Magistrate Munyonga ordered the State to compile a report which should be presented before the Magistrate Court by 13 July 2009.

ENDS

For more information please contact;

Kumbirai Mafunda

Communications Officer