Zimbabwe's MDC 'abductees arrested for lying about torture'

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Joana Mamombe a Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance member of Parliament lying on a hospital bed at a private hospital in Harare on May 15, 2020Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Opposition MP Joana Mamombe is one of the three women who allege they were tortured by state agents

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".

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.

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Cecilia Chimbiri gave graphic testimony of the assault and torture

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".

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

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.

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