Police arrested between 180 and 300 demonstrators, 10 years ago, calling for a new constitution. They were carrying placards which read: “We are prepared to die for a new democratic constitution”.
The demonstration was organised by the National Constitutional Assembly and its leader Lovemore Madhuku was among those arrested.
Human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa said she saw police beating young arrestees with rubber truncheons as they alighted from a police vehicle.
She said that she overheard police shouting commands to take away the arrestees’ cell phones, deny them any communication with the outside, and lock them up.
Viewing cable 03HARARE2100, POLICE BEAT ARRESTEES AFTER NCA DEMONSTRATION IN
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
221444Z Oct 03
UNCLAS HARARE 002100
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR J. FRAZER
LONDON FOR C. GURNEY
PARIS FOR C. NEARY
NAIROBI FOR T. PFLAUMER
E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: POLICE BEAT ARRESTEES AFTER NCA DEMONSTRATION IN
Â¶1. (SBU) On October 22, police arrested 180-300
demonstrators including National Constitutional Assembly
(NCA) Director Dr. Lovemore Madhuku, during a demonstration
organized by the NCA at Africa Unity Square in downtown
Harare. The demonstration advocated a new constitution.
Police confiscated t-shirts, banners, and placards which
read, “we are prepared to die for a new democratic
constitution”. The arrestees are being held at Harare
Central Police Station. Police kicked seven lawyers out of
the station, under threat of beating or tear gas; lawyers are
being denied access to the arrestees. Prominent human rights
lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa said she saw police beat young
arrestees with rubber truncheons as they alighted from a
police vehicle and were made to run into the yard of the
police station. Legal representation is being handled by the
Legal Defense Fund (LDF), a program of the local NGO the
Legal Resources Foundation (LRF). Eileen Sawyer, ex-Director
of LRF, said that two Herald reporters were also arrested
with the crowd and were being detained.
Â¶2. (SBU) Mtetwa said she overheard police shouting commands
to take away the arrestees cell phones, deny them any
communication with the outside, and lock them up. She said
it was very likely that the arrestees would be spread around
to various police stations in the Harare area overnight, as
the cells at Harare Central could not accommodate this many