Home » Legal and Judicial Affairs » Chikurubi Rioters Denied Medical Records

HARARE magistrate, Tendai Mahwe, yesterday refused to grant Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights a court order to obtain medical records of nine Chikurubi Maximum prison inmates currently detained at remand pending trial.

The lawyers urgently intended to use the records as evidence that support allegations that the nine were tortured, assaulted and injured on assertions that they had incited the food riot which left five inmates dead.

The convicts, who include Robert Martin Gumbura (59), Blessing Chiduke, 25, Luckmore Matambanadzo, 39, Luck Mhungu, 38, Taurai Dodzo, 47, Thomas Chacha, 37, Thulani Chizema, 32, Jacob Sibanda, 28, and Elijah Vhumbunu, 38, are being charged with attempt to escape from lawful custody, incitement in aggravating circumstances in relation to malicious damage to property and incitement to assault or resist a peace officer.

Eight of the already serving inmates had since made an application for referral to the Constitutional court following these allegations and had also applied against remand.

The application for referral to the Constitutional Court is yet to be considered while that to be removed from remand was rejected.

Lawyer Tawanda Hofisi said the medical records were to be used as evidence to support the prisoners’ claim that they were harrowingly abused on the date in question.

“The accused sustained several injuries some had been taken to hospital and admitted before initial remand. Some were taken x-rays and the records are the main evidence to support their allegations.

The officer in charge, Assistant Commissioner Pambai refused to give me the records and said I can only obtain them through a court order,” he said.

Mahwe said the convicts had made a mistake of not disclosing physical abuse on their very first appearance.

“Normally, accused persons should state complaints of physical violence on initial remand, under this case the court cannot order the prison commissioner to provide or release what the court was not aware existed,” he said.

The convicts told the court that they were facing continued discrimination which includes being denied toilet paper, bathing soap, tooth paste and tooth brushes when they last appeared in court on Monday.

They highlighted that they had been confined to harsher conditions in which they were accessing natural light for only 15 minutes a day.

Court however heard that the state could not assist in any way as the prisons were a separate entity with own specific rules and regulations.

Source : New Zimbabwe