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Social justice activist Tinashe L Chimedza arrested and in hospital
Students Solidarity Trust (SST)
April 23, 2004

Police 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 Resistance’.

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.

Preliminary checks 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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