LAWYERS representing 18 MDC-T activists who were last year abducted by suspected state security agents and kept incommunicado have written to the Ministry of Home Affairs demanding US$7 million compensation for their clients who were tortured.
The 18, who are facing terrorism charges, were abducted between October and December last year and held in secret locations for more than three months before being handed over to the police.
In one of the 18 letters written to the co-Ministers of Home Affairs Kembo Mohadi and Giles Mutsekwa last week, the lawyers Mbidzo, Muchadehama & Makoni, want the state to compensate their clients for physical and psychological trauma suffered during their â€œunlawfulâ€ detention.
â€œWe act for our client Gandhi Mudzingwa who has asked us to notify yourselves, and officials and other persons whose names appear hereunder, of his intention to sue yourselves and the said officials and persons,â€ one of the letters says.
Among those being sued by the activists are Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri, Minister of State Security in the Presidentâ€™s Office Sydney Sekeramayi, Minister of Defence Emmerson Mnangagwa, Commissioner of Prisons Paradzai Zimondi, Minister of Justice Patrick Chinamasa, Attorney-General Johannes Tomana, and the Director of the Central Intelligence Organisation, Happyton Bonyongwe.
In the case of Mudzingwa, the lawyers said their client was abducted on December 8 last year, thrown into a Mazda Familia and was assaulted while blindfolded.
â€œMudzingwa was taken to an undisclosed location where he was received by a cheering crowd which further assaulted him using open hands, bricks and all sorts of objects,â€ the letter says.
The other MDC-T activists include Pascal Gonzo, Fedelis Chiramba, Concilia Chinanzvavana, Manuel Chinanzvavana, Mapfumo Garutsa, Regis Mujeyi, Zacharia Nkomo, Andrison Manyere, Chinototo Zulu, Kisimusi Dhlamini, Broderick Takawira, Violet Mupfuranheve, Nigel Mupfuranhewe, Pieta Kaseke, Collen Mutemagau, Audrey Zimbudzana and Tawanda Bvumo.
Mudzingwaâ€™s lawyers said the police should be made to pay for the trauma their client suffered as they have failed to arrest his abductors.
â€œThe police saw the persons who brought our client to the Highlands Police Station but they did nothing. They did not arrest the kidnappers who had presented themselves.
The police are therefore complicit in our clientâ€™s abduction and torture,â€ argued Mudzingwaâ€™s lawyers.
Mudzingwa, the lawyers said, was a victim of enforced disappearances which were outlawed by United Nations General Assembly Resolution 47/133 ofÂ December 18 1992.
The letter also stated that the ill-treatment of the activists violated Section 15 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, Article 5 of the Universal Declaration ofÂ Human Rights, and Article 1 of the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment which all provide for the protection against inhuman treatment.
Â BY LUCIA MAKAMURE