Amid reports of excessive violence resulting in the deaths of 12 people, the arrests of more than 700 people and injuries from the use of live ammunition by the Zimbabwe National Army and the Zimbabwe Republic Police, the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) condemns the violent crackdown in Zimbabwe against civilians protesting steep increases in fuel prices.

The Director of the IBAHRI, Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, commented: ‘We are greatly alarmed by reports of gross violations of human rights, the severity of response to protests and the interference with the right to a fair trial for those detained during the protests. The Zimbabwean authorities flagrant disregard for the Rule of Law, a fundamental pillar of democracy, is deeply disturbing.’

According to information received by the IBAHRI, security forces have targeted males, regardless of age, found in close proximity to where barricades were set up by demonstrators in areas where looting occurred. Further accounts include details of 78 people seeking medical attention for gunshot wounds; almost 250 reported cases of assault and torture; the denial of bail applications; minors as young as 11 years of age arrested and detained in the same cells as adults; and the authorities conducting fast-tracked trials in relation to these arrests, which did not permit lawyers sufficient time to prepare their cases. Many of the accused persons were also reportedly denied bathing facilities and access to medical treatment for their injuries.

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