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MDC activist to sue police over leaked pictures

By Staff Writer

MDC Alliance activist Cecilia Chimbiri says she will sue the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) after semi-naked pictures of her were leaked on social media following her alleged abduction.

Chimbiri, Joanah Mamombe, and Netsai Marova were arrested and allegedly abducted last week after a flash demonstration in Warren Park. They were found dumped in Bindura and are alleging that they were tortured and were hospitalised.

Chimbiri’s lawyer Rose Hanzi of Zimbabwe’s Lawyers for Human Rights on Wednesday wrote to police chief Godwin Matanga saying his office should fully investigate the issue to ascertain how and under whose instruction the “photographs of our client have been disseminated.

The lawyers also want Matanga to take “appropriate action against Chief Superintend Philip and any other people who were involved in this violation.

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“We are extremely concerned that the dissemination of the said photographs is in direct violation of the guidelines provided in the 2012 Protocol on Multi-Sectoral Management of Sexual Abuse and Violence in Zimbabwe. The ZRP is a signatory to this protocol and all its officers are bound by its provisions,” Chimbiri said through her lawyers.

“Further be advised that we will be taking legal action against all those responsible in their official and individual capacities for damages. Accordingly, this letter serves as due notice in terms of Section 6 of the State Liabilities Act.”

She said a medical officer identified as Dr Nyamukuwe had arrived in the ward on May 15 where the activist was in the company of a female police officer identified as Chief Superintendent Philip. The female police officer is said to have photographed Chimbiri as part of evidence gathering.

“She captured some images of Honourable Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri, and Netsai Marova. Our client together with Mamombe and Marova were at different times advised to remove clothing to expose the various sections of their bodies for the exercise,” Hanzi said.

“It was the understanding of our client Cecilia Chimbiri that photographs were taken for the sole purpose of evidence used for investigation.”

The lawyer said it was brought to her client’s attention on May 18 when sensitive photographs captured by Chief Superintendent Philip were circulating on various social media platforms.

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The circulating of sensitive pictures, the lawyers said, were in breach of confidentiality and severe violations of rights to dignity and privacy of their clients as enshrined in Section 51 and 57 of the Constitution respectively.

“We further advise that we will not hesitate to invoke all constitutional and legal remedies available to our client, including suing all police officers, as well as the command structure involved in the present obtaining violation of our clients’ rights. Further, be advised that we will be taking legal action against all those responsible in their official and individual capacities for damages,” Hanzi said. Get all COVID-19 statistics for Zimbabwe from COVID-TRACKER

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Daniel Chigundu

Daniel Chigundu is the news editor for OpenParlyZW an online platform that covers Parliament of Zimbabwe activities using social media (Twitter and Facebook). He is currently the secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Parliamentary Journalists Forum and a board member of Digital Communication Network.

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