Harare – Zimbabwe’s finance minister says masked men in military uniforms burst into his home and pointed assault rifles at him and his wife as the military moved in against former President Robert Mugabe.
Ignatius Chombo is in court to face corruption charges that some observers believe are politically motivated after Mugabe’s resignation.
Chombo says he was handcuffed and blindfolded in the early-morning November 15 raid and driven to an unidentified location, where for days interrogators told him he had performed badly as a government official.
He says he was then handed over to police for arrest. He says he was admitted to hospital for high blood pressure and bruises on his hand caused by handcuffs.
Chombo also is questioning the corruption allegations, saying some date back two decades. “I found it a little bit odd that it would come up now,” he says.
At Chombo never mentioned his aide was killed when soldiers stormed his Mount Pleasant and he never spoke of gunfire as reported in the private media.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on Zimbabwean authorities to uphold the rights of everyone detained following the military takeover on November 15.
In a statement to the media, the international human rights group said the military should publicly acknowledge the identities and location of everyone arrested and detained and ensure that their rights, including access to lawyers and family members, were respected.
“The military should clear the air about any arrests across Zimbabwe and hand over any criminal suspects to the appropriate civilian authorities according to law,” HRW Southern Africa director Dewa Mavhinga said.
“Failing to disclose the whereabouts of those detained is an enforced disappearance that places detainees at greater risk of abuse.”