Zimbabwe’s main opposition party says three of its female members, including an MP, have been arrested for lying about being tortured in custody.
Thee women were detained in May for attending a protest during lockdown.
They allege state agents then abducted them from the police, beat and sexually assaulted them and forced them to drink each other’s urine.
Their re-arrest came as UN experts called for the prosecution of “the perpetrators of this outrageous crime”.
- ‘We were tortured and forced to drink urine’
- Africa Live: More on this and other news from the continent
The nine UN special rapporteurs said there was a pattern of forced disappearances “aimed at suppressing protests and dissent”.
Such tactics against the opposition were often used during the presidency of Robert Mugabe, who was overthrown in 2017.
But last year alone, the UN rapporteurs said 49 cases of abductions and torture were reported without investigations leading to anyone being held to account.
Almost 48 hours after the abduction of MP Joana Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova last month, they were found dumped in a marketplace and had to receive treatment in hospital for their injuries.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) tweeted that the three were re-arrested on Wednesday at the offices of their lawyers, alleging police had had them under surveillance.
The party says the charges relate “to an alleged fake abduction report”.
Last month, after the women had related their ordeal from a hospital in the capital, Harare, where they were being treated, Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi said they had made up the story to divert attention from the fact that they broke lockdown rules by attending a protest.
You may also be interested in:
- Zimbabwe, the land where cash barons thrive
- Zimbabwe descends into darkness
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .