|12. March 2009
Bennett says prisoners suffer gross abuses in Zimbabwe
Roy Bennett, a top aide to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and designated Deputy Minister of Agriculture, said Thursday after his release on bail that prisoners in Zimbabwe were suffering severe rights abuses. "There are gross human rights abuses behind those walls," he told journalists and party supporters at the provincial headquarters for Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in the eastern town of Mutare. Bennett, who spent one month locked up on terror charges, said that cells were overcrowded and prisoners received only one small meal a day. "Five people died while I was inside and it took the prison officers four to five days to remove the bodies. The situation behind there is pathetic," he said.
The MDC politician who had been in custody since February 13th was released on bail payment of US$ 5.000 and has to surrender title deeds and report to the police three times a week. The State had wanted him to report everyday. Bennett who is facing weapons charges denies the allegations of plotting to overthrow Robert Mugabe. Whether or not he will be sworn into office as Deputy Minister as previously agreed remains to be seen.