HARARE, Zimbabwe — Twelve battered suspects accused of killing a police inspector appeared in court yesterday, and their lawyer said they were tortured continuously by police in jail.
The group shuffled into the courthouse limping and handcuffed in pairs. Eight men and four women had deep lacerations and welts on their legs and arms. They lifted their clothing to show other wounds. Several had swollen faces and bloodshot eyes.
Tungamirai Madzokere testified in a statement that he suffered internal injuries in beatings that police recorded on video cameras.
Defense lawyer Charles Kwaramba said that the suspects, members of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s former opposition party, were detained in a police crackdown in a western Harare township since the killing on Sunday.
He said members of the group were beaten with rifle butts and were punched and kicked all over their bodies. Police took turns assaulting them during nights in jail, sometimes jumping on and twisting their handcuffed wrists.
Kwaramba also said police denied them medical attention and free access to their lawyers.
Presiding magistrate Shane Kubonera ruled that the group remain in custody and to reappear in court June 17.
Kubonera also ordered that they receive immediate medical attention and that investigations into the torture allegations be carried out by the office of Attorney General Johannes Tomana, the top state law officer.