Arbitrary arrest and detention is highly prevalent within Zimbabwe. The following documented cases were reported by Amnesty International. Select cases involved members of non-governmental organizations facing prosecution despite the fact that they were conducting legitimate work that was sanctioned under international law. A minimum of twelve activists were charged on account of “undermining the authority of or insulting the President.” (Amnesty International 1)
The association Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) has also faced routine disruption and violence at the hand of the police. In Bulawayo, 17 women were detained and subjected to abuse. While the arrested are within police custody, it is not uncommon for them to face brutality and torture. WOZA leaders were arrested for kidnapping and theft, and were denied bail. Jennifer Williams, one of the arrested leaders, obtained a doctor’s note that spoke for her poor health and requested a delay for trial. The judge denied the request, citing that Williams was feigning her poor health. (Amnesty International 1) The latest incident that has been documented was the brutality that police inflicted at WOZAs annual Valentine’s Day peaceful march that encourages Zimbabweans to educate themselves about and participate in the political process. (Amnesty International 2)
Forty four members of the association Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GAYZ) were detained in Harare. The offices of the association were repeatedly raided, and police seized pamphlets and computers from the facility. Members of GAYZ reported police approaching them at their homes which put them at risk for exposure to the rest of the community. As Zimbabwe does not have an accepting government or society when members of the LGBTI groups are concerned, this put them at an increased risk of experiencing discrimination and/or potential violence. (Amnesty International 1)
In 2013 alone, there were eight cases of death after being arrested. Two of the three cases occurred in Harare. Case 1) three men were suspected of car thievery and arrested. The official report stated that the men had attempted escape which had prompted police to respond with severe force, however, an autopsy showed that one victim’s cause of death was of a gunshot wound to the head from 2-3cm away from the skull. Case 2) this man had arrived at the police station to inquire about a friend who was detained. He was accused as an accomplice and arbitrarily detained for four days without trial or cause. Witnesses state that he was tortured for two days and then kept in the cell for the remainder of his imprisonment in order to heal. Once released, he pressed charges on the officers, but soon died as a direct result of his previously inflicted injuries. Case 3) one man was taken into police custody without clear cause. He was later found dead in his cell. The police state that he shot himself, but no explanation to how he was able to obtain a gun was ever given....