Arrest Brutal State Security Officers, Govt Told

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) has urged the government to take stern measures against  state security officers brutalize citizens under the guise of enforcing the lockdown.

Several army and police officers have been caught on camera in the past few days indiscriminately beating unarmed civilians for allegedly failing to adhere to the lockdown orders.

Government deployed armed security personnel to enforce the 21 day lockdown but their conduct has left a sour taste as they have opened unhealed wounds of the January 2019 army brutality which left more than dozen people dead.

To date, one person is alleged to have died as a result of lockdown brutality while several others have escaped with wounds and some have been arrested after being beaten by the state agents.

However, ZimRights says the culture of  impunity in Zimbabwe will set a precedence for future rights abuses by the security forces.

“Perpetrators must be prosecuted. ZimRights members believe that as long as there are no consequences for perpetrators, this practice will not stop. There must be institutional consequences to the police service for their conduct.

“They must be prosecuted for the violations. The leaders of the police must be brought to book and answer charges for such a culture of violating section 206 of the Constitution. Secondly, there must consequences for the individual police officers who commit the violations. There must be sanctions against their continued employment. Additionally, there must be criminal charges against the officers,” ZimRights says in its week two report dubbed “Their Voice Matter” which is chronicling the three week lockdown.

The association further stated that enforcement of lock-down regulations must be done with high regard to the respect of the human rights and dignity of the people.

The National Peace and Reconciliation also castigated police officers who are brutalizing citizens saying they are tarnishing the name of the services.

“During the lockdown days covered so far a remarkable restraint by law enforcement officers (although some few misguided and undisciplined elements tarnished the image of the sector by acts of abusing citizens). The Commission continues to implore cooperation between the state and citizens during the remaining days of the lockdown,” the commission said in a statement to the media yesterday.

The 21 day lockdown will lapse on Monday but with Zimbabwe recording more cases of the COVID-19, speculation is high that the government will further extend the period in an effort to actively monitor the situation.

To date, three people have succumbed to the global pandemic from the 23 confirmed cases. The country is expecting to intensify its testing following the availing of more testing kits.

 

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