Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Zim doctors concerned over police assaults

... Harare/Johannesburg- An independent doctors' group in Zimbabwe expressed deep concern Monday over the growing number of people admitted to hospital with injuries allegedly inflicted by the police and state agents. "We have witnessed an increase in the number of persons presenting with injuries reportedly sustained from assault and torture inflicted during the course of arrest, during raids on the victims' homes and while in police custody," said the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR).

The association said in a statement it was deeply concerned at the level of force being used in the arrest of opposition and civic rights activists since the start of a crackdown on March 11.

Six people had received gunshot wounds, including activist Gift Tandare who was shot dead by police on March 11, it said.

Forty-nine people had required hospitalization for injuries sustained at the hands of police over the past month, while 175 others had been taken to hospital and discharged, the group added.

More than 180 of the victims had received moderate to severe soft tissue injuries, the doctors said.

Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai was among dozens of activists arrested and severely assaulted by police on March 11 as they tried to hold a prayer rally in Harare's Highfield district.

The authorities in Zimbabwe have continued to arrest opposition officials and activists including MDC MP Paul Madzore and national executive committee member Ian Makone....

In one incident condemned by ZADHR eight opposition activists were dragged back to police cells from a Harare hospital where the court had ordered them to seek treatment for injuries inflicted by the police.

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