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justice activist Tinashe L Chimedza arrested and in hospital
Solidarity Trust (SST)
April 23, 2004
in Harare the 22 April 2004, arrested and inhumanely assaulted, social
justice activist Tinashe Lukas Chimedza. Tinashe had been billed to speak
at an Education Rights Forum at Mt Pleasant Hall, in his capacity as the
Zimbabwe nominee to the International Youth Parliament, whose topic was
‘Defending the Right to Education, and Celebrating a legacy of Students
Mr Tinashe was arrested
on arrival at the venue, after being identified as one of the speakers.
The police who had been notified of the intention to hold the Forum as
a belated independence gala, surrounded the hall, before the time the
meeting was scheduled to start, with heavily armed policemen, accompanied
by dogs. They dragged Tinashe from a group of students to a separate room,
where they beat him up with booted feet and open fists. When he was finally
taken to Marlborough police station, he was unconscious, and bleeding
through his mouth. He was later taken to the avenues Clinic for treatment
where he spent the night under police guard, after lawyers Jacob Mafume,
from the Human Rights Forum, Otto Saki, from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for
Human Rights (ZLHR) and Advocate Bhatasara had pleaded with police, as
his condition required urgent medical attention. At Marlborough police
Station, advocate Bhatasara was also briefly detained, for allegedly showing
disrespect for the Zimbabwe flag, for walking into the police station
while wearing a hat. He was however released, after the officers realised
that they had harassed an advocate. The ZLHR has stated an intention to
sue the Police, for the harassment of both Tinashe and Advocate Bhatasara.
held at Avenues Clinic, showed that Tinashe was heavily bruised all over
his body, his lips were split, some of his front teeth were knocked back
up into his jaw and two front teeth were broken.
This is not the first
time that Tinashe, who has long history as a Student Rights advocate,
has been assaulted by the police or unjustly arrested. In 2002, was at
the centre of a campaign by Amnesty International, after he had been arrested
and assaulted numerous times together with other student activists whom
he had been staying with at a study house in Marlborough, after he had
been expelled from the University of Zimbabwe where he had been active
as the secretary general of ZINASU. Up till now the charge that he is
being held under is still unclear, as the police are frantically trying
to look for other charges that he might have had in the past since they
could not stick anything on him at the present moment.
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