ZRP boss Godwin Matanga 

The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) has been petitioned over filthy holding cells at Avondale Police Station.

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights has written to police over the matter after University of Zimbabwe students who were detained there complained.

ZLHR writes:

“We have asked @PoliceZimbabwe to immediately repair & refurbish toilets in holding cells at Avondale Police Station including installing cubicles or demarcation for privacy & a flushing system following complaints by our clients, UZ students who detained in deplorable conditions.

The UZ students have told us that conditions of detention at Avondale Police Station are inhumane & constitute a breach of their protection from inhuman & degrading treatment, a right which is guaranteed in sections 51 & 53 of the Constitution. The cells are filthy, dirty & filled with a heavy pungent smell.

The toilet in the male holding cells is blocked & almost overflowing with human excreta & urine & has no working flushing mechanism & has not been flushed since the time the students were detained on Wednesday to date.

The smell of human excreta is therefore pervading the cell such as to render it uninhabitable.

There is no demarcation between the rest of the cell & the toilet.

We have asked @PoliceZimbabwe to allow the students to wear decent clothing including appropriate & suitable footwear as they had been asked to remove their stockings.

We reminded @PoliceZimbabwe that an order was granted by Constitutional which directed the law enforcement agency to take all necessary steps & measures within their power to ensure that holding cells have clean & salubrious flushing toilets with toilet paper & a washing bowl.

Flushing toilets must be cordoned off from the main cell to ensure privacy & that every person detained in police custody overnight should be furnished with a clean mattress & adequate blankets.

Women detained in police custody must be allowed to keep their undergarments including brassieres & to wear suitable footwear.