GWERU – Zimbabwean police have summoned top human rights lawyer Doug Coltart for questioning, a day after four activists were allegedly abducted and tortured for attending a civil society meeting in Harare Saturday.
The meeting – a workshop on facilitation techniques for adult education, was held at Greystone Park in the capital Harare.
Coltart, who also attended the meering, said the police invitation came at a time when unidentified men abducted four activists, Robson Chere, Munyaradzi Ndawana, Precious Ndlovu and Jess Drury at the workshop. He said the activists were tortured for seven hours before they were dumped at Harare Central Police station’s law and order section, where they were subsequently released without charge.
“I have actually been asked to attend at Harare Central (police station) tomorrow at 9am. I was at the same meeting where four activists were abducted from at later dropped at the same police station and I suspect its same issue I am being sought for,” he said.
Coltart was one of the lawyers who represented MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa during his failed Constitutional Court challenge of Presidential election results last year. He revealed that the activists who had been abducted at the weekend Harare workshop were severely tortured.
“They were denied their rights and told no-one knew where they were and interrogated for hours. They were slapped and strangled during the interrogations,” said Coltart.
Chere, one of the abducted activists, told this publication that he was in deep pain following the torture.
“I am feeling a lot of pain after going through torture yesterday. I am not an enemy of the state but the state has declared me its enemy,” he said.
Incidents of torture come amid fears Zimbabwe could be sliding back to the dark days of former strongman Robert Mugabe, who brutally reacted each time voices of dissent tried to be heard against his iron-fisted rule.
In the so called new dispensation by Mugabe’s long-time lieutenant President Emmerson Mnangagwa, signs of the old draconian management style are manifesting themselves once again.