Case History: Itai Dzamara
En la mañana del 9 de marzo de 2015, el Sr. Itai Dzamara, defensor de derechos humanos, fue secuestrado por cinco desconocidos mientras se hallaba en una peluquería en Glenview, un suburbio de Harare. Se desconoce el paradero del defensor; su esposa denunció la desaparición ante la policía local.
Itai Dzamara es un destacado periodista y organizador de Occupy Africa Unity Square, un movimiento de sentadas pacíficas lanzado en octubre de 2014 para exigir se asignen responsabilidades en el gobierno de Zimbabue por "no satisfacer las necesidades del pueblo".
On 10 November 2014, journalist and human rights defender Mr. Itai Dzamara was discharged from hospital a few days after he and human rights lawyer Mr. Kennedy Masiye, along with 9 other demonstrators, were brutally assaulted by police officers during a peaceful and non-violent demonstration at Africa Unity Square in Harare.
On the morning of 6 November 2014, Itai Dzamara and his colleagues had gathered at Africa Unity Square in downtown Harare to continue their sit-in. At approximately 11:30 a.m, several police officers arrived at the square and ordered the protesters to disperse. Soon after giving the order, they reportedly started beating those participating at the sit-in with baton sticks. In the process, more than a dozen officers reportedly singled out Itai Dzamara, prevented him from leaving and started to brutally assault him until he lost consciousness. When human rights lawyer Kennedy Masiye tried to intervene, the police officers turned their batons on him, beating him severely. This was despite the fact that he clearly identified himself as a legal practitioner executing his professional responsibilities to provide legal assistance. Kennedy Masiye eventually managed to retreat from the police officers, and was left severely injured with a broken arm. As a result of the brutal assault, Itai Dzamara was rushed to Avenue Clinic where he was hospitalised. Two other protesters are reported to have received treatment at the same clinic and were discharged.
As he attempted to file a report, despite his serious condition at Harare Central Police station, Kennedy Masiye was arbitrarily detained while his colleagues struggled to find out his whereabouts, as police attempted to hide his presence at the police station. After he was eventually found and released to his colleagues, police refused to provide a medical examination. Kennedy Masiye collapsed as a result of his injuries and was rushed to a private hospital.
This is not the first time that Itai Dzamara has been targeted by police in connection with the “Occupy Africa Unity Square” campaign. On 4 November 2014, the human rights defender was confronted by riot police at Africa Unity Square as he addressed the public. He was asked to produce a clearance letter for his protest, which he did; but still the police arrested him along with five other protesters and they were taken to a police station. No formal charges were filed against them.