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Violence, recrimination and arrests after policeman's death in Glen View - Index of articles
Monitor Issue 101
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
July 11, 2011
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demands millions for police injustice
A man who was
shot by the police and forced to suffer 14 months in a dilapidated
prison before being acquitted has approached the High Court to compel
Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri and the government to pay
him over $1.5 million in damages.
was shot in the thigh in July 2009 while lying on the ground when
police suspected him of being part of a gang that had recently robbed
a vehicle in Harare's Mt Pleasant suburb. Nyambara said he
was at his rural home when the alleged robbery occurred.
Whilst in hospital
recovering from the gunshot wounds, Nyambara was charged with armed
robbery as defined in Section 126 of the Criminal
Law (Codification and Reform) Act on 16 July 2009. He was subsequently
remanded in custody at Chikurubi Maximum Prison.
lawyer, Belinda Chinowawa of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights,
Nyambara is asking Chihuri, co-Home Affairs ministers Kembo Mohadi
and Theresa Makone, Detective Constable Muuya and Detective Sergeant
Musekiwa to pay him $1 521 400 in compensation. Chinowawa says Nyambara
can barely live a normal life after the ordeal.
his claim is for: "Payment in the sum of $1 500 000 being
damages for pain, suffering, shock, contumelia, unlawful arrest
and imprisonment, loss of amenities of life and permanent disability
and disfigurement sustained as a result of an unlawful shooting
by members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police."
He wants a further
$5 400 for loss of income during the time he was in remand prison
and $16 000 as compensation for loss of revenue from his farming
demanding that the police return a Trium Galaxy cell phone, Econet
sim card and $168 taken by the police upon his arrest.
have 10 working days from 1 July to respond to the claim.
as a normal day on 13 July in 2009 turned into a nightmare for Nyambara
when two plainclothes policemen Muuya and Musekiwa "brandished
guns and ordered him to stop".
his life, Nyambara complied and was ordered to lie on the ground
before he was shot in the left thigh.
was totally uncalled for as the Plaintiff (Nyambara) had not shown
any inclination to resist the order to lie down or to flee. The
attack was not only brutal but also callous and unnecessary,"
said Nyambara's lawyer, Chinowawa.
had suspected Nyambara of being part of a gang of armed robbers
led by Gift "Tyres" Mwale, who was on the police "most
wanted" list. Mwale had died in a hail of bullets after hijacking
a Mercedes-Benz in Harare days before Nyambara's ordeal.
Muuya and Musekiwa
asked Nyambara to reveal the whereabouts of "his accomplices
as well as the hiding place for some AK47s" to which he denied
court papers, the police officers bundled Nyambara into a grey Toyota
Collora vehicle that had been parked on the opposite side of the
continued to protest his innocence and declared that he could not
have committed the alleged robberies as he had just returned from
his rural home on that very day and furnished proof in the form
of a bus ticket to authenticate his claim," read the court
the production of the ticket as corroboration the police officers
discontinued the questioning and proceeded to take him to Glen Norah
police station and subsequently to Harare Central Hospital where
he was placed under police guard and received treatment for his
gunshot wound," according to the court papers.
through this torment, the charges were withdrawn before plea due
to lack of evidence despite the fact that the police officers had
claimed to have positively identified Nyambara as one of the robbers.
To save face,
the State then charged Nyambara with possession of a firearm, "notwithstanding
the fact that no firearm had been retrieved from him at the time
of his arrest".
was dropped on 9 September 2010 resulting in Nyambara's release.
But life has
never been the same, he says. Not only did he sustain bodily injury
from the gunshot despite having committed no crime, Nyambara lost
his sales job with Tyn-Serve Distributors where he earned a monthly
income of $450.
mobility and independence have reduced, as he is unable to participate
in basic and ordinary activities that a farmer should be able to
as his left leg cannot sustain this," wrote his lawyer.
case is one in many that show how police recklessness has cost innocent
citizens. Several claims similar to Nyambara's are before
the courts. Chihuri's failure to pay claims he has lost in
the courts also highlights how the police continue acting with impunity.
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