/ 24 November 2010

Man spends two months in Zim jail with untreated wounds

An alleged motorcycle thief spent two months in a Zimbabwe prison awaiting trial without receiving medical treatment for a police bullet wound, which left his intestines protruding through his stomach, local media reported on Wednesday.

Boas Chiwanza appeared before a High Court judge on Monday holding his innards in the palm of his hand, the independent daily Newsday newspaper reported.

He was in considerable pain and scarcely able to speak to the judge — who ordered prison orderlies immediately to take him to hospital, the paper reported.

The incident is the latest in a series of shocking revelations about conditions in Zimbabwean prisons, where more than 1 000 inmates died in the first six months of last year, and inmates live amid filth and sewage.

Court documents claimed Chiwanza had been shot in the stomach after trying to disarm a policeman. He told judge Yunus Omerjee that his stomach had been ripped open by the bullet.

There was no doctor in the hospital in the Harare prison where he was held.

Prison chief superintendent Billiot Chibaya told the court that Chiwanza had been given painkillers and plastic bags in which to hold his intestines. The main treatment outstanding is closure of the opening which is supposed to be done at hospital, he said.

Prisoners have for a long time been regarded as sub-human, said Irene Petras, director of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights. — Sapa-dpa