Taurai Dodzo and Thomas Chacha made the claims at the Harare Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday while applying for referral of their case to the Constitutional Court. The two are being represented by lawyer David Hofisi. “The accused persons’ fundamental right to freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and right to human dignity as enshrined in Sections 53 and 51 of the Constitution were contravened,” Hofisi said. Newsday reports:
“The contravention took the form of wanton assaults and subjection to conditions of incarceration meant to induce severe pain, suffering and discomfort at the hands of State actors in the form of prison officials and other officers in civilian clothing.” Hofisi said Dodzo was assaulted for two days by prison officers until he defecated.
“This accused was assaulted by prison officers on his way to his cell on March 13 2015 and upon identification of ‘bad apples’ on March 14 2015. He was assaulted with open palms, fists and baton sticks and was sent to a cell with 40 other inmates, all of whom were stripped naked and not provided with blankets,” he said.
“Over the course of the days of the 15th and 16th of March 2015, this accused was assaulted by prison officers and other officers in civilian clothing with open palms and baton sticks to the point of defecation. He spent yet another night (March 15 2015) without any clothes or blankets.” Hofisi said Chacha was ordered to eat his own excrement to save him from further beatings.
“This accused person was assaulted on March 13 2015 upon entry of prison officers into C Hall Section and during entry into his cell . . . during a particularly vicious attack on March 15 2015, he defecated and was ordered to eat his own excrement which he did on pain of further assaults,” he said. RMG Independent End Time Message leader Robert Martin Gumbura has been cited as one of the ring leaders of the foiled jailbreak.
Gumbura is serving a 40-year jail term for raping female congregants. The others were Blessing Chiduke, Luckmore Matambanadzo, Lucky Mhungu, Thulani Chizema, Jacob Sibanda and Elijah Vhumbunu.
The State is expected to file its response by May 29 this year and presiding magistrate Tendai Mahwe will give a determination after oral submissions by June 5.