Top Zimbabwean rights activist poisoned in custody

Published on AFP, Jan. 4, 2009.

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) – Zimbabwean rights campaigner Jestina Mukoko, who is to appear in court Monday on charges of plotting to overthrow President Robert Mugabe, is being poisoned and tortured in custody, the Sunday Independet reported.

According to the paper, Mukoko, who is in solitary confinement at the notorious Chikurubi Maximum Security prison, is being force fed drugs by prison personnel.

It said her lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa has called for a toxicology report to support the allegations.

“Mukoko is psychologically traumatised, it is not certain that she has told the full story because, every time she speaks to a doctor or a lawyer, a state official is present,” said Mtetwa.

Mukoko was seized from her home on December 3 by armed men who identified themselves as police.

Last week she made a first court appearence after being detained at an unknown location for weeks …

… The rampant human rights abuse cases in Zimbabwe highlight the country’s deepening political crisis more than three months after Mugabe signed a power-sharing deal with Tsvangirai. (full text).

Link: Zimbabwe: Botswana plotting coup, 15 December 2008.

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