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Amnesty International Report 1994 - Zimbabwe

Publisher Amnesty International
Publication Date 1 January 1994
Cite as Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 1994 - Zimbabwe, 1 January 1994, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6a9f450.html [accessed 24 April 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.
At least four people were killed by police in circumstances suggesting that they may have been extrajudicially executed. At least two people were sentenced to death but 37 others had their sentences commuted and there were no executions.

In November the Constitution was amended so that death sentences could no longer be challenged on the grounds that delays before execution or the conditions in which death-row prisoners were held could be considered inhuman or degrading punishment. In June the Supreme Court had commuted the death sentences on four prisoners to life imprisonment on the grounds that the delay in carrying out their sentences violated the constitutional ban on inhuman or degrading punishment. Following this ruling, the death sentences on 33 other prisoners were also commuted to life imprisonment.

There were reports during the year of killings by the security forces which appeared possibly to be extrajudicial executions. In February, four people, including a 10-year-old boy, were killed at Dalny gold mine, west of Harare, when police opened fire on demonstrators protesting at mineworkers' conditions. There were wide discrepancies between police and eye-witness accounts of the incident: police alleged that they had opened fire only after protesters used violence to try to disarm police; eye-witnesses said the demonstration had been peaceful. An investigation was ordered but no results were made public by the end of the year.

The authorities took no steps to investigate the mass graves discovered in 1992 at Antelope Mine near Kezi: the graves were believed to contain the remains of victims of extrajudicial executions carried out by the army between 1983 and 1985 (see Amnesty International Report 1993). They also failed to clarify the fate and whereabouts of Rashiwe Guzha, who "disappeared" after being reportedly kidnapped by officials of the Central Intelligence Organization (CIO) in 1990 (see Amnesty International Report 1993). The cases of Shepard Chisango, an army lieutenant who died in military custody in 1991, and Miria Chizhengeya, who died in police custody in 1992 (see Amnesty International Report 1993), remained unresolved.

Action was taken, however, in some cases of past human rights violations. A CIO official and a youth leader belonging to the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) were sentenced to six years' imprisonment in April for the attempted murder in 1990 of Patrick Kombayi, a prominent member of the opposition (see Amnesty International Report 1993). In July an inquest opened into the death of Happy Dhlakama, who was allegedly beaten to death in police custody in Mutare in July 1990. It was adjourned several times and had not been completed by the end of the year. During 1993 it was learned that a police officer had been sentenced to four years' imprisonment in connection with the death in custody of Clever Magwera, who died in a police station in Kadoma in March 1991.

At least two people were sentenced to death but there were no executions.

Amnesty International urged the government of President Robert Mugabe to ensure that all cases of death in custody in previous years and killings by police were urgently and impartially investigated. The government responded by referring to progress in investigations into some cases. Amnesty International welcomed the commutation of 37 death sentences but expressed concern about the constitutional amendment. It called on the government to take steps to abolish the death penalty.

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