Mental patient dies chained in Police cells

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CHIVI – Police has been accused of assaulting a mentally challenged man from Chivi who then allegedly died with his hand and leg chained to a metal base inside a cell at Madamombe Police Station.

Relatives of the deceased complained to The Mirror that they found Dereck Hlomai dead on October 15, 2020 when they took some food and a certificate to prove to the officers that the man was mentally challenged.

National Police spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi referred questions to provincial spokesperson, Chief Inspector Charity Mazula who is however, not responding to the media.

A grieving Mercy Hlomai said she found her brother dead when she took some food and a certificate of illness to the Police Station. Christopher Kufakunesu, a cousin to the deceased accused cops of murdering his relative.
Headman Madamombe also confirmed the case and said the body had since been taken to Bulawayo for postmortem.

Tapiwa Murena, a lawyer with Zimbabwe Lawyers’ for Human Rights, said that Police were callous in handcuffing Hlomai to a metal base when he was not a flight risk.

“I went to Madamombe Police Station on the October, 15 to bring my brother some food and a certificate to show the Police that the man was mentally challenged. It was when I got in the cell that I found that he died handcuffed to a metal base.

“The body was taken from Madamombe Police base to Masvingo General Hospital on October, 16, 2020 before being transferred to UBH in Bulawayo for post mortem,” said Mercy.

Sources said Hlomai was arrested at Madamombe Business Centre at around 10pm on October 14, 2020 on suspicion of stealing Mdzibo’s pot. He was allegedly assaulted by a security guard and a Police officer whose names are given.

On October 15 Mercy brought the deceased food and found him already dead with a hand and leg chained.
Kufakunesu also complained about costs which he said they were too harsh on them.

“The state is being inconsiderate as we are responsible for all the costs whilst our relative died in hands of the Police,” Kufakunesu said.

Kufakunesu also complained against Police for not giving the family a report on how Hlomai died as they claim that they do not know the whereabouts of Chimudende.