The two LGBT activists arrested last week in Zimbabwe claim that they were tortured by police while being held and have forced to spend another night in jail, said Lawyers for Human Rights.
Ellen Chademana (34) and Ignatius Mhambi (38) were arrested for alleged possession of pornography in a raid on the offices of Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ) in Harare on Friday.
On Wednesday, David Hofisi and Dzimbabwe Chimbga, the lawyers representing Chademana and Mhambi, told Harare Magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi that their clients were tortured during their detention and asked for an investigation into the alleged torture.
Mhambi alleges that police used empty soft drinks bottles to assault him on his knees and both he and Chademana claim that they were allegedly forced to take a seated position without a chair or any support for a long period.
Both detainees also allege that they were subjected to assaults all over their bodies.
Hofisi applied for the release of Mhambi and Chademana on bail, arguing that the two were suitable candidates for bail.
The magistrate, however, postponed the bail application to Thursday 27 May after State Prosecutor, Bruce Tokwe, requested a postponement to acquaint himself with the facts of the matter.
Magistrate Mutevedzi cautioned the police not to torture or assault the two GALZ employees whilst in their cells.
Meanwhile, the two activists’ lawyers have also brought an urgent application before High Court Justice Joseph Musakwa for their release on the basis that their detention is unlawful and has now extended beyond the statutory 48 hour period provided for by the law.
In addition to the charges of being in “possession of obscene, indecent or prohibited articles,” the police also charged the two with allegedly “undermining the authority of the President” by displaying a plaque in their office in which former San Francisco Mayor Willie Lewis Brown, Jr denounces President Mugabe’s homophobia against gays and lesbians.