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Anderson Manyere, "I would only be given two litres of water a week"

Anderson Manyere

Freelance journalist Anderson Manyere, 45, was detained in Zimbabwe in December 2008 and released in April 2009, after spending most of his time in solitary confinement at a variety of police stations, as well as the feared maximum security prison, Chikurubi, in the capital, Harare.

''Men brandishing AK-47 rifles and pistols jumped out, dragged me out of my vehicle, handcuffed and blindfolded me, before throwing me into the back of one of the trucks''

Manyere was arrested with two opposition activists: Ghandi Mudzingwa, former personal aide to Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and now Prime Minister, and Chris Dlamini, the party's chief of security. They were all accused of training militias in neighbouring Botswana to topple President Robert Mugabe's government.

Manyere and the two MDC members were released on 17 April, but 48 hours later the two MDC members were again arrested and the police are actively seeking Manyere. On the run, he told IRIN his story.

"When I was kidnapped by state security agents on December 13, 2008, I did not think I would ever see my family again because of the manner that I was abducted by the armed men.

"I was in my home town, Norton, about 40km south of Harare, when I received a call from an anonymous caller who said he needed to see me for urgent business. When I arrived at the scene, two trucks drove up and sandwiched my car.

"Men brandishing AK-47 rifles and pistols jumped out, dragged me out of my vehicle, handcuffed and blindfolded me, before throwing me into the back of one of the trucks. They forced me to lie down and face downwards."

"While the state security agents were driving me around, they started torturing me mentally and emotionally; they did this by playing loud music by different local musicians.

"One song is titled, 'You thought you were a hero', another was a funeral dirge about how death is a final and lonely journey, while in another song the message is that jails are a place where people die.

"While in solitary confinement I would only be given two litres of water a week and some strange leaves, which I had no option but to eat. I saw fellow inmates who were like skeletons at Chikurubi.

"In between, I would be tortured through assaults. When they told me that I had been recruiting people to undergo military training, I told them they were mad, crazy.

"When they said they had found weapons at my house, I told them the arms were theirs, and that they were trying to set me up. They were riled and even beat me up some more.

"We should ensure that anybody who violates human rights should get a taste of their own medicine through the courts.

"It will take time to forgive or forget."


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This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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