Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point
On Air
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Thursday, January 28, 1999 Published at 12:08 GMT


World: Africa

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.


[ image: Arrested: Editor Mark Chavunduka]
Arrested: Editor Mark Chavunduka
After being released on bail, the journalists said the military had tortured them, an allegation denied by Zimbabwe's defence minister.

But Dr Philemon Chigwanda, a specialist orthopaedic and trauma surgeon, says he has no doubt that the two journalists were severely assaulted and tortured.

Zimbabwe
He examined them hours after they were released from military detention a week ago but the report has only now been released to the public.

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.

Charges denied

The journalists have been charged with publishing false news, but they allege the military tortured them.


[ image: Arrested: Senior reporter Ray Choto]
Arrested: Senior reporter Ray Choto
They say the military appeared to be taking the coup plot story seriously and were seeking the sources of the story.

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.



Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©




Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia



Relevant Stories

27 Jan 99 | From Our Own Correspondent
Seeking the truth in Zimbabwe

26 Jan 99 | Africa
Police disperse Zimbabwe protest

25 Jan 99 | Africa
No charges for Zimbabwe newspaper man

22 Jan 99 | Africa
Zimbabwe journalists' 'torture ordeal'





Internet Links


Zimbabwe Standard

Standard: Detentions Special Report

World Press Freedom Review: Zimbabwe

Catholic Commission report on 1980s disturbances in Matabeleland


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.




In this section

Dam builders charged in bribery scandal

Burundi camps 'too dire' to help

Sudan power struggle denied

Animal airlift planned for Congo

Spy allegations bug South Africa

Senate leader's dismissal 'a good omen'

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Zimbabwe constitution: Just a bit of paper?

South African gays take centre stage

Nigeria's ruling party's convention

UN to return to Burundi

Bissau military hold fire

Nile basin agreement on water cooperation

Congo Brazzaville defends peace initiative

African Media Watch

Liberia names new army chief