Persecuted for demanding a living wage: The case of Obert Masaraure

Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) President, Obert Masaraure is a victim of state brutality having been abducted and tortured by state security agents on numerous occasions.

The state has targeted Masaraure for his firm stance in demanding a living wage and better working conditions for rural teachers.

In January 2019, Masaraure was abducted at his Harare home by state security agents who broke into his home, tortured him and later dumped him at the Harare Central Police Station.

As if that was not enough, the State went on to press charges of subversion against Masaraurewho endured a lengthy period in detention at remand prison. His salary was also frozen.

The case is still pending before the courts.

Below, Masaraure pours his heart out on his continued victimization by the State;

“Our courts are failing to deliver justice and restrain a vindictive state. State actors who abducted me, tortured me and latter dragged me to court have been allowed to have their cake and eat it.

My salary was ceased while I was in ChikurubiMaximum prison. I was remanded in custody at the whim of the state; no evidence was ever brought to court to justify my placement on remand. The state was allowed to randomly pick a charge and use it to persecute me.

Circumstances of how the crime might have been committed were never mentioned. To date I have lost my salary, suffered torture, forced to abide to strenuous reporting conditions, dragged to countless routine remand hearings and lost an opportunity to study on a scholarship. Our attempts to go for a review at the High Court were also thwarted as the Clerk of Court failed to maintain a credible record of the case. We hope the case will be thrown out on 24 November,” said Masaraure.

As Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, we maintain that Masaraure, like many other human rights activists in Zimbabwe, is a victim of persecution by prosecution.

We deplore the continued weaponization of the law by the State to clampdown on human rights defenders.

We implore the State to desist from capture and weaponization of the judiciary and respect the independence of the courts.

ENDS//

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