Today riot police assaulted and arrested people on the steps of Rotten Row Magistrate’s Court for signing a funeral song protesting the death of Hilton Tafadzwa Tamangani, the vendor who died in custody after being tortured by police and denied medical treatment.
They were part of a group of citizens who attended court today to show solidarity with the remaining 10 vendors who were arrested with Tafadzwa last week (many of whom were also brutally assaulted by the police). Many people were blocked from getting into court by police.
Last week, Magistrate Learnmore Mapiye remanded Tafadzwa and the other vendors in custody, despite them being in a serious medical condition. She heard their bail application but FAILED to give a ruling for a week! Today they were granted bail but for Tafadzwa it’s too late.
For Hilton Tafadzwa Tamangani, it was the epitome of the saying: JUSTICE DELAYED IS JUSTICE DENIED. The postponement of his bail ruling, while he languished in prison being denied medical treatment for injuries sustained during torture, meant he wasn’t alive to get bail today.
Perhaps if Magistrate Learnmore Mapiye hadn’t twice postponed the bail ruling, Tafadzwa would still be with us today. Or if we had a professional police service that didn’t torture people… We have to imagine a Zimbabwe where this type of evil does not happen and fight for it.
As the vendors walked into court today, many in the audience silently raised their palms on which the words “Ndini Tafadzwa” were written. There was a pain in the vendors’ eyes as they looked out across the room remembering their colleague. One gave a gentle nod of appreciation.
The vendors’ lawyers Kadzere & Mandevere of @ZLHRLawyers made an application for the court to order an independent pathology report on Tafadzwa’s death in custody. The State opposed the disingenuous ground that there is no death certificate before the court! Ruling tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Makomborero Haruzivishe, Denford Ngadziore (councilor ward 16 Mabelreign), and a vendor Jonah Matoratora, who were arrested this morning at court, have now been charged with disorderly conduct and will be detained overnight. They’ll be in court tomorrow morning.
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