Human Rights Lawyer Confronts Police Brutality, Wins $2,500 Damages for Victim
20 February 2024
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By Wezhira Munya

In a resounding triumph for justice, Advocate Martin Mureri, a distinguished human rights defender from Masvingo, secured a momentous legal triumph as he fought for his client, Theresa Khosana, in a civil case against Commissioner General of Police Godwin Matanga, Minister of Justice Ziyambi Ziyambi, and three police officers.

Advocate Mureri, representing Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, took charge of the case, marked by its significance in the pursuit of justice. Notably, Mureri, a Member of Parliament for Masvingo urban, aligns with the pro-Chamisa faction, advocating for progressive change.

Under the case number MSVPCG 278/23, the trial culminated in a judgment compelling Minister Ziyambi, Commissioner General Matanga, and the three implicated police officers to pay $2,500 USD in damages, a stark contrast to the initial claim of $10,000 USD.

The ruling was issued by Masvingo Provincial Magistrate Isaac Chikura.The trio of police officers, identified as Constable Mavis Sibanda, Constable John Nyaya, and Constable Mushonga from Chivamba Police Station in Zaka, faced allegations of subjecting Mrs. Theresa Khosana to a vicious assault and degrading treatment. Disturbingly, Mrs. Khosana endured handcuffing and endured the torment of continuous water pouring throughout the night.

Advocate Mureri emphasized, “The officers’ unwarranted aggression stemmed from a mistaken belief that the plaintiff harbored her son, Byron, sought for alleged community service default. Their confrontational approach spiraled into verbal insults from the plaintiff.”

Court records vividly depict Mrs. Khosana’s ordeal, citing her mistreatment and prolonged suffering during police custody.

Arguing on constitutional grounds, Advocate Mureri contended that the officers’ conduct egregiously violated Mrs. Khosana’s rights enshrined under Section 50 and Section 53 of the Constitution, which mandate humane treatment and prohibit torture or cruel treatment.

The judgment, delivered after meticulous consideration of evidence and legal arguments, held the defendants, including the Commissioner General of Police and the Ministry of Home Affairs, jointly and vicariously liable.

The court awarded Mrs. Khosana $2,500 USD in damages, acknowledging the physical and emotional anguish inflicted upon her.

Furthermore, the defendants and the Commissioner General of Police were directed to bear the legal costs, underscoring accountability for their actions.