Opponents of Mugabe Allege Torture in Court

Zimbabwe political prisoners suffered beatings, abuse
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 16, 2009 6:53 AM CST

(Newser) – More than a dozen human rights activists and allies of Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai were tortured by agents of Robert Mugabe, a court heard yesterday. The New York Times reports that the activists were abducted, detained in secret prisons, and brutalized until they confessed to crimes they had not committed. Jestina Mukuko, a high-profile political prisoner, wept on the stand as she described her torture, which included beatings by drunk interrogators.

More than a dozen activists are on trial for crimes such as terrorism and sabotage, which Tsvangirai, speaking from Johannesburg, called "trumped-up charges." The arrests and torture came soon after Mugabe agreed to a power-sharing deal, although the Zimbabwean president still refuses to cede any authority. Mukoko's lawyer said that her client was trying to maintain a brave face in court, but "it’s like she’s no longer the same person they took away."