Mukoko details her abduction


0

Jestina Mukoko, the director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project, said she was abducted from her home on 3 December 2008 by seven men who refused to identify themselves.

Over the next two days she was interrogated and beaten by two different groups of people who asked her about ZPP, accused her of recruiting youths to undergo military training, and interrogated her about Ricardo Hwasheni, a former police officer.

The government alleged that Hwasheni was first enticed to recruit others for military training in Botswana.

Mukoko was also asked about her contacts in the Movement for Democratic Change and contacts with the Elders including former United States President Jimmy Carter, Graca Machel and Kofi Annan during their late November visit to South Africa.

She was also asked her about her connections with the Counselling Services Unit (CSU), and CSU Program Officer Fidelis Mudimu in particular.

When she denied allegations during the lengthy interrogation, her captors forced her feet onto a table and then beat them.

On December 13, Mukoko was asked to sign a statement detailing her personal background, a ZPP staff retreat in Botswana, and ZPP staff details.

She provided these statements but refused to sign a confession to knowing and recruiting former police officer Hwasheni.

She was forced to make a videotaped confession the following day.

On December 14, in response to complaints she needed medical attention, a man who identified himself as Dr Chigumira quickly examined her and she was later given medication.

Her lawyer later said Dr Chigumira was an army doctor.

 

Full cable:

Viewing cable 08HARARE1147, ZPP LEADERS DETAIL ABDUCTIONS, TORTURE

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

08HARARE1147

2008-12-30 15:17

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO7158

OO RUEHDU RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #1147/01 3651517

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 301517Z DEC 08

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 3868

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 2522

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 2645

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1138

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 1914

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2269

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 2694

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5122

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 1801

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 001147

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/S FOR B. WALCH

DRL FOR N. WILETT

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR E. LOKEN AND L. DOBBINS

STATE PASS TO NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR B. PITTMAN

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/18/2018

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM KDEM ZI

SUBJECT: ZPP LEADERS DETAIL ABDUCTIONS, TORTURE

 

REF: A. A. HARARE 1145

B. B. HARARE 1183

 

Classified By: Charge d’Affaires Katherine Dhanani for reason 1.4(d).

 

——

SUMMARY

——-

 

1. (C) Lawyers have drafted affidavits for nine individuals

who have recently been abducted and tortured by Government of

Zimbabwe actors. Because lawyers have not had access to all

abductees that are in State custody, there may be more who

have suffered torture and been coerced into making false

confessions. We have obtained affidavits from two victims,

Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) Director Jestina Mukoko and ZPP

Provincial Coordinator Broderick Takawira, which describe

their detention and the treatment they endured before state

security officials turned them over to Zimbabwean police on

December 22. Both were beaten on the soles of their feet (a

form of torture known as falanga) and were forced to give

false confessions that they were involved in coordinating and

recruiting individuals in preparation for an armed insurgency

from Botswana. Even after entering police custody on

December 22, both were denied access to lawyers. END SUMMARY.

 

—————————————

Abductions, Torture, Forced Confessions

—————————————

 

2. (C) Mukoko was abducted from her home at 5:00 am on

December 3 when seven people entered her home and refused to

identify themselves. On December 4 and 5, she was

interrogated and beaten by two different groups of people who

asked her about ZPP, accused her of recruiting youths to

undergo military training, and interrogated her about Ricardo

Hwasheni (the former police officer the GOZ alleges was first

enticed to recruit others for military training in Botswana),

her contacts in the MDC, and contacts with the Elders

including former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Graca Machel,

and Kofi Annan during their late November visit to South

Africa. They also asked her about her connections with the

Counselling Services Unit (CSU), and CSU Program Officer

Fidelis Midumu in particular. They accused Midumu of helping

recruits cross the border into Botswana. (NOTE: CSU treats

and documents victims of torture. Midumu – who is an

International Visitor Program alumnus – remains in Zimbabwe,

although he is “laying low” for now. END NOTE.) When she

denied allegations during the lengthy interrogation, her

captors forced her feet onto a table and then beat them.

 

3. (C) On December 13, Mukoko was asked to sign a statement

detailing her personal background, a ZPP staff retreat in

Botswana, and ZPP staff details. She provided these

statements but refused to sign a confession to knowing and

recruiting former police officer Hwasheni. On December 14,

she was forced to make a videotaped confession.

 

4. (C) On December 14, in response to complaints she needed

medical attention, a man who identified himself as Dr.

Chigumira quickly examined her and she was later given

medication. (NOTE: In court on December 29, Mukoko’s lawyer

alleged that Dr. Chigumira is doctor with the Zimbabwean

army. END NOTE)

 

5. (C) Takawira was abducted from ZPP’s office on Monday

December 8. That day he was interrograted about ZPP’s work,

including a ZPP trip to Botswana. He was also subjected to

falanga, beatings, and continued interrogation on December 8,

9, and 10. His captors forced him to detail his encounter

with Hwasheni, whom Takawira had met at the ZPP office in May

 

HARARE 00001147 002 OF 002

 

 

or June 2008. Takawira stated that Hwasheni wanted help

traveling to London or Botswana and to publish a book

detailing his experiences, requests ZPP declined. On December

10, Takawira was forced to sign a statement and confess on

video that he and Mukoko had received a letter from Hwasheni

confirming his interest in going for military training

outside the country.

 

6. (C) Both Mukoko and Takawira were kept in detention until

December 22, when they were blindfolded and taken to Braeside

police station in Harare where their captors handed them over

to Chief Superintendent of Police Magwenzi. On December 23

police took Mukoko to her home and searched it without the

presence of her lawyers as she requested. On the same day,

police took a videotaped statement from Takawira, again

without his lawyers present as he requested. Lawyers first

gained access to Takawira and Mukoko at 12:30 on December 24,

just before their initial court hearing before Magistrate

Guvamombe (reftels).

 

——-

COMMENT

——-

 

7. (C) These forced confessions reflect the story that

ZANU-PF has been pushing in the local media and within SADC

that the MDC and ZPP joined forces to recruit others to

launch some kind of armed insurgency from camps in Botswana.

The use of falanga as the preferred torture technique is not

surprising. CSU and ZPP’s data regarding torture throughout

the period between the March and June elections indicated it

was one of the preferred methods of torture by ZANU-PF

militias. In addition, falanga is extremely painful but

leaves few visible signs of injury. Takawira, Mukoko and

others who have alleged torture are due to be examined by

medical doctors, who may be able to confirm the claims in the

affidavits. Given that many detainees have still not been

able to speak with lawyers, there may be others – in addition

to the nine we know of – who were subjected to torture to

produce forced confessions. The details of their abductions,

mistreatment, and experience once in police custody reflect

the continued disintegration of rule of law in Zimbabwe. END

COMMENT.

DHANANI

 

(24 VIEWS)

Don't be shellfish... Please SHARETweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Email this to someone
email
Print this page
Print

Like it? Share with your friends!

0
Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

0 Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *