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Abductees’ lawyers sue police boss over ‘leaked forensic nude pictures’

By Desmond Chingarande

Lawyers representing the three MDC Alliance officials allegedly abducted and tortured last week have filed a notice to sue Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga over the conduct of one of his officers, who leaked nude pictures of one of their clients captured for the purposes of investigation.

Joanah Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova were abducted by suspected state security operatives
Joanah Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova were abducted by suspected state security operatives

Early this week, nude pictures of one of the three MDC Alliance officials captured from the hospital they are undergoing treatment went viral, and the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights alleged the pictures were taken by one of the police officers conducting a forensic investigation on the trio.

In a letter of complaint and notice to sue, ZLHR director Roslyn Hanzi said the circulation of the sensitive photos was a gross breach of confidentiality and severe violation of the rights to dignity and privacy of her clients.

Hanzi said they had since identified the female police officer as one Chief Superintendent Philip, who accompanied Dr Nyamukure in the trio’s female ward.

“The female police officer identified herself as Chief Superintendent Philip from the ZRP [Zimbabwe Republic Police] forensic department and she photographed our client as part of evidence gathering,” the ZLHR director said.

“She captured several images of the honourable Joanah Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova. The images were of various parts of the body. Our clients were advised at different times to remove clothing to expose the various sections of their body for this exercise.”

Hanzi said it was their understanding that the photographs were taken for the sole purpose of evidence that would be used for investigations.

However, it was brought to their attention that the sensitive photographs were now circulating on various social media platforms.

“Zimbabwe is a State party to several human rights instruments that enjoin the government to ensure that everyone including the victims of crime is afforded equal protection of the law,” she said.

“Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states that no one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with her privacy, family, home or correspondence nor to attacks upon her honour and reputation.”

She said Matanga must institute investigations to ascertain how and under whose instructions the photographs of her clients had been disseminated.

She further said Matanga must take action against Chief Superintendent Philip. News Day

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