UN official claims Zimbabwe activists may have been tortured

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

JOHANNESBURG - A United Nations torture investigator has confirmed that he had written the Government of Zimbabwe to express concern about allegations that state security agents had assaulted the 45 activists who, after watching reports of the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, were recently detained and charged with treason.

The police arrested the 45 activists, trade unionists and students on Feb. 19 during a meeting in Harare called by Munyaradzi Gwisai, a lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe’s law school, to discuss the implications of the anti-authoritarian uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia for Zimbabwe.

A lawyer for the detainees told the investigator, Juan E. M�ndez, that a dozen of the activists had been beaten with broomsticks, metal rods and blunt objects on their bodies and the soles of their feet.

They were tortured to force them to testify for the state, and they have since been denied medical care for their injuries, the New York Times quoted lawyer, Jared Genser, as saying.

M�ndez, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, said in an e-mail that he had not yet heard back from the Government of Zimbabwe, and therefore, could make no further comment. (ANI)

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