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  • Strikes and Protests 2007- Save Zimbabwe Campaign

  • Nature of injuries of tortured civil society activists and opposition party leaders
    Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR)
    March 14, 2007

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    The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) has, having been granted extremely delayed access to Opposition Party Leaders and Civil Society Activists arrested on Sunday 11 March 2007, been able to assess the extent of the injuries they sustained.

    It is highly regrettable that the medical treatment of these persons was wilfully delayed by the Zimbabwe Republic Police despite the stated urgency of the need for medical treatment. This resulted in the aggravation of injuries sustained in several persons.

    In violation of the rights of the injured persons detained, medical treatment was denied on 11 March 2007 and again on Monday 12 March 2007. In default of a High Court Order granted on the evening 12 March 2007 the police further denied medical access to the injured persons. Permission to take the injured to a medical facility was finally granted on the afternoon of Tuesday 13 March 2007.

    In the interim several of the persons detained were in a grave medical condition. Of the 64 persons attended to 20 are currently admitted to hospital for treatment.

    The injuries documented were consistent with beatings with blunt objects heavy enough to cause the following:

    • Fractures to hands, arms and legs in 5 individuals including Lovemore Madhuku with a fractured ulna. 3 of these, Elton Mangoma, Sekai Holland and Morgan Tsvangirai sustained multiple fractures.
    • Severe, extensive and multiple soft tissue injuries to the backs, shoulders, arms, buttocks and thighs of 14 individuals.
    • Head injuries to 3 individuals, Nelson Chamisa, Morgan Tsvangirai and Lovemore Madhuku with the latter two sustaining deep lacerations to the scalp.
    • A possibly ruptured bowel in 1 individual due to severe blunt trauma to the abdomen.
    • A split right ear lobe sustained by Grace Kwinjeh.

    Prolonged detention without accessing medical treatment resulted in severe haemorrhage in Morgan Tsvangirai leading to severe anaemia which warranted a blood transfusion. Injuries sustained by Sekai Holland were also worsened by denial of timely access to medical treatment which led to an infection of deep soft tissue in her left leg. Denial of access to treatment in another individual suffering from hypertension lead to angina.

    Further tests are currently being carried out to determine the fuller extent of injuries in several of those currently admitted. Some will require surgical procedures as part of their treatment. Sekai Holland has already undergone a surgical fixation of the fracture in her left ankle.

    2 of the individuals hospitalised were admitted due to conditions resulting from poor conditions of detention with severe diarrhoea in 1 individual and extensive and severe flea bites in 1 individual.

    In addition to those tortured during the course of their arrest, 2 individuals were shot while attending the funeral of Gift Tandare, who was shot dead on Sunday March 11 2007. The two individuals sustained gunshot wounds to the left ankle and right arm respectively. One sustained a shattered left ankle from the gunshot wound and is likely to require amputation from the left ankle downwards. The other individual primarily sustained shrapnel wounds early on Monday 12 March but however was shot again in the same arm on the evening of Monday 12 March upon his return to the funeral resulting in a open fracture to the arm, the severity of which may warrant amputation of that arm.

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