New York, January 9, 2009--Zimbabwean photojournalist Anderson Shadreck Manyere, who was arrested on December 24, was remanded in custody today by a court in Harare despite allegations that he was tortured while in police detention, according to local journalists. Manyere is expected to return to court on January 23.
Defense lawyer Alec Muchadehama had asked magistrate Olivia Mariga on Thursday to defer the court proceedings pending the outcome of an appeal filed with the High Court calling for medical treatment for Manyere, the Media Institute of Southern Africa reported.
Manyere and seven alleged opposition party activists were
charged with banditry in
contravention of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act and could face
the death penalty if convicted, local journalists told CPJ. The state accused
the eight suspects of participating in bombings last year at the Criminal
Investigation Department Headquarters in
The state further claimed that they found 48 rounds of ammunition at Manyere's home. Manyere denied the claims in court and accused the police of stealing his journalism equipment from his home during his absence. "The [only] ammunition I know is my camera, a laptop and some tapes which they took during my absence," he said in court. Manyere told the court he had been abducted and unaware of his whereabouts for nine days.
On Thursday, Mariga ordered the attorney general's office to order the police to investigate the torture allegations and report their findings at the January 23 court date, according to local journalists.
"Sending Manyere and the others back to the police accused
of torturing them is outrageous," said Tom Rhodes, CPJ's
to the Zimbabwean Lawyers for Human Rights, Manyere's
interrogation was accompanied by torture and he was forced to make confessions
on camera. He is currently being held in solitary confinement at Chikurubi
The state argued that the prison clinic has trained staff for any medical requirements, according to wire reports. A medical examiner revealed in court January 6 that Manyere suffers from hypertension. Doctor Ruth Harava said Manyere had received blows to the head and urgently needed an x-ray.
on December 13 in Norton, 19 miles (30 kilometers) west of
Journalists were relentlessly harassed during this year's presidential elections in May and June, CPJ found in its report "Bad to Worse in Zimbabwe."