Some Zimbabwean opposition activists who were detained for taking part in a protest Sunday were temporarily released late Tuesday night to the custody of their lawyers and told to return to court later Wednesday. Shortly before their release, Zimbabwe opposition Movement for Democratic Charge leaders had been held under police guard at the Avenue Hospital in the capital, Harare.
Nelson Chamissa is spokesman for MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and one of those beaten and arrested Sunday by Zimbabwe police. He described police treatment of MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai from his hospital bed shortly before their release late Tuesday night.
“Mr. Tsvangirai has been detained at the hospital for medication and proper hospitalization. According to the doctor, Mr. Tsvangirai sustained a big cut on his head arising from the assault by the central intelligence people and ZANU-PF militia while he was in police custody,” he said.
Chamissa said the Zimbabwe High Court had mandated the police to take Mr. Tsvangirai and the other wounded MDC leaders to the hospital for medical treatment before their appearance in court.
“When we got to the court in the afternoon at the insistence of our lawyer, because we applied to the high court to try and have Mr. Tsvangirai and the rest of the leaders, including myself, to be brought to court. And we got that order from the high court; the police were now under pressure to get us to the magistrate court for appearance. But when we got there, it was clear that most of the people were not fit to stand before the court. So they were asked to be hospitalized by the court to be checked in terms of their medical fitness. And of course, that’s how we ended up here where we are. Unfortunately, we are still under police custody,” Chamissa said.
Chamissa disclosed that all hospitalized MDC activists had police officers posted by their hospital beds to ensure they did not escape from the hospital.