The trial of Joana Mamombe, Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova in a case they are accused of faking their abduction two years ago continued Tuesday.
The trio claimed that it had been arrested after a flash food protest in Warren Park, and taken to police cells before they were abducted at night by suspected state security agents who assaulted them all night and dumped them in Bindura.
The state, however, denies the allegations saying the trio either faked its abduction to soil the image of the state or the alleged abductions are being conducted by “a third force” for the same reason.
The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) on the day of the protest, announced that it has arrested the three, who were then members of the opposition MDC Alliance led by Nelson Chamisa.
Police later disowned the statement saying they had not arrested them and did not know where they were.
They were reported missing only to be found the following day in Bindura, about 86km from Harare where they had staged the demo.
Opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) says the charges are trumped-up. Said the party:
The trumped-up prosecution of the #Trio continues today following excessive delays by the State whose witness has been AWOL for 4 weeks.
These ladies were abducted, sexually assaulted & tortured 2 years ago. However, they are in the dock for “publishing falsehoods”.
Their perpetrators have never been brought to book.
The party added that the persecution must stop.
The government has often been accused of cracking down on dissent by arresting members of the opposition and or human rights defenders.
Authorities deny the allegations arguing that the government is actually reforming.