…Sikhala, Sithole treated like hardcore criminals
…duo kept in ‘D’ class section
CITIZENS’ Coalition for Change (CCC) members of Parliament Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole who are incarcerated on charges of inciting public violence are being treated like hardcore criminals and their constitutional rights violated while in remand prison, the duo’s lawyers have said.
Roselyn Hanzi and Idirashe Chikomba of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) have written to the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) officer-in-charge Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison demanding an end to the persecution of the two opposition politicians.
The lawyers are demanding that the prison officers respect the two opposition lawmakers’ constitutional rights.
“The two, Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole, are being subjected to inhumane treatment more specifically in that they are being shackled in leg irons when they have to leave their holding cells to meet with visitors including when they are meeting with their lawyers,” the letter dated 16 August 2022 reads in part.
ZPCS Commissioner-General Moses Chihobvu is also copied in the letter.
“These leg irons are as old as they can be. Other than them being too tight, since they appear to be one-size-fits-all (despite that some inmates may have bigger legs) with a possibility of disrupting the smooth circulation of blood, they are also bruising the legs at some point of contact, for our clients.”
The letter also revealed that some of Sikhala’s visitors bringing him food were being blocked, with the authorities arguing he had too much already.
Hanzi and Chikomba queried why the officials were blocking those bringing food to the two accused persons as if they were dieticians.
“We are also advised that the duo are being detained in the D class section which we are reliably informed is the section for dangerous and convicted criminals,” the letter reads.
Sikhala and Sithole were arrested in June and have spent over two months in remand prison.
They were arrested for allegedly inciting violence at the funeral wake of CCC activist Moreblessing Ali.
Ali was allegedly killed by a Zanu PF activist who has since been arrested.
The CCC activist is yet to be buried, with her family demanding the release of Sikhala, their lawyer and spokesperson, saying he was arrested to silence them from demanding justice.
Sikhala and Sithole’s continued incarceration together with 13 other activists has triggered international condemnation, signalling a deterioration in Zimbabwe’s human rights situation.