Harare, May 11, 2015 – A Zimbabwean court has ended the inhuman treatment of eight prisoners who had endured two months without access to sanitary materials such as bathing soap and tooth paste.
The eight prisoners were detained in solitary confinement at Chikurubi Maximum Prison after they were arrested and charged with attempting to escape from lawful custody and damaging prison property during a mutiny over poor quality of food.
The eight prisoners Blessing Chiduke, Luck Mhungu, Luckmore Matambanadzo, Thomas Chacha, Thulani Chizema, Jacob Sibanda, Taurai Dodzo and Elijah Vumbunu were being denied access to sanitary material such as bathing soap, bathing towels, tooth brush and tooth paste since their arrest in early March and their subsequent incarceration in solitary confinement.
But Harare Magistrate Tendai Mahwe on Monday ordered the Zimbabwe Prison and Correctional Services (ZPCS) to allow the eight detainees access to some amenities such as toothbrush, tooth paste and bathing soap which they had been denied access to for almost two months since their arrest in March.
Magistrate granted the order after the eight detainees’ lawyer David Hofisi of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights had protested against the violation of his client’s rights.
In granting the order, Magistrate Mahwe also declared that accused persons in custody still enjoy their rights.
In 2013, ZPCS officials disclosed that more than 100 prisoners died of malnutrition and illness in Zimbabwean prisons which have been hit by food and drug shortages owing to lack of adequate financial resources. In 2008, at the height of the southern African country’s worst economic and political crisis, several prisoners died of diseases while other starved to death forcing humanitarian organisations to intervene and save the situation