Zimbabwe opposition trio deny lying over abduction and torture

Three female Zimbabwean opposition activists, who say they were kidnapped and tortured recently, have been arrested. Courtesy of #DStv403

HARARE - A Zimbabwean opposition lawmaker and two activists have denied charges they lied to police about being abducted and tortured last month, their lawyer said.

Movement for Democratic Change Alliance MP Joana Mamombe and party youth assembly activists Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova were arrested at their lawyer's offices.

They had visited the lawyer to discuss another case in which they were charged over their participation in a protest last month.

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The three women were admitted to hospital with various injuries after they were arrested in that case and said they had been taken to a place out of town by unidentified men who allegedly sexually assaulted one of them.

Their lawyer, Alec Muchadehama, said the three were charged with "making false statements prejudicial to the state."

"When they reported their abduction to the police, the police are now saying they were not telling the truth," Muchadehama told journalists outside the Harare magistrate's court Friday.

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He said they "are denying the charges."

MDC-Alliance spokeswoman Fadzai Mahere queried how the women could be said to have lied about their abduction and torture when they had injuries to show for the assaults.

On arrival at the court, Marova was seen limping and using a crutch and was helped by Mamombe.

The three were remanded in custody until the magistrate rules on a bail application on Monday.