Thursday, January 28, 1999 Published at 12:08 GMT
Doctor confirms Zimbabwe torture allegation
Riot police broke up a march supporting the journalists
By Harare Correspondent Joseph Winter
The medical report on two Zimbabwean journalists who say they were tortured has confirmed their accusations.
The editor and senior reporter of the Standard newspaper - Mark Chavunduka and Ray Choto - were detained by military police after their paper carried a story alleging a coup plot in Zimbabwe's army.
But Dr Philemon Chigwanda, a specialist orthopaedic and trauma surgeon, says he has no doubt that the two journalists were severely assaulted and tortured.
The doctor says that both men had obvious bruising on their buttocks, arms and legs consistent with their stories of having been beaten with wooden blocks.
He also found signs of electric shocks on the feet of Ray Choto, author of the article about a coup plot.
The journalists have been charged with publishing false news, but they allege the military tortured them.
Both deny the charges and are currently free on bail, but have not yet returned to work.
Meanwhile the government's senior law officer, the attorney general, has promised that if the alleged victims lodge an official complaint he will order the police to investigate.
He said this in a meeting with a group of lawyers who, earlier this week, protested outside parliament about the claims of torture.
The incident has provoked outrage in Zimbabwe, but the government has denied the accusations and merely intensified its verbal attacks on the independent and foreign media.