Police stormed a meeting organised by the International Socialist Organisation (ISO) in Zimbabwe’s capital Harare on 19 February last year.
The meeting was to discuss the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia and commemorate the death of Navigator Mungoni, an Aids activist and ISO member.
Forty-five people arrested at the meeting were held in prison, tortured and initially charged with treason—which carries the death penalty.
Defendant Hopewell Gumbo said, “We were subjected to heavy physical beatings from which I suffered a broken nose.
“Others had various injuries depending on the instrument used and part of the body assaulted.”
All were prevented from receiving prescription drugs and medical attention—including those who are HIV positive.
One detainee, David Mpatsi, later died after this treatment.
The majority were released without charge. The trial of the remaining six has continued ever since. The defendants have filed a lawsuit against the police and Zimbabwe’s two home affairs ministers for their torture.