The Human Rights Commission (HRC) has expressed satisfaction with the conviction and subsequent sentencing of a police officer to 20 years imprisonment with hard labour by the Kitwe High Court for causing grievous bodily harm to a suspect.
HRC Principal Information Officer Simon Mulumbi, said the commission is hopeful that the 20 year sentence handed down to the police officer will serve as a deterrent to other law enforcement officers in the habit of torturing and degrading individuals suspected of committing criminal offences.
In a press statement issued to ZANIS in Lusaka, Mr Mulumbi said the Commission, will continue looking up to the courts of law to give out sentences to law enforcement officers who brutalise the general public suspected of having committed offences .
Mr Mulumbi further advised police and the general public that torture is a crime against humanity and it is unacceptable in this era of human rights to torture people whether under people state of emergency or political instability.
He said the commission is concerned that it has continued to receive cases of police brutality, torture, inhuman and degrading treatment of suspects, at various police detention and correctional facilities.
Mr Mulumbi said the HRC will continue to engage the State to come up with a law that will criminalise torture in order to protect the inherent rights and dignity of individuals.
He said the Commission is hopeful that the adoption of the Bill Criminalising Torture in Zambia by Cabinet on 4th December 2017 will help to punish perpetrators of torture and offer effective remedies to torture victims.
Mr Mulumbi added that the enactment of the anti-torture legislation is part of Zambia’s state obligations under the United Nations Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
Zambia is a signatory to the UN Convention against Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment which prohibits torture and the country accepted the recommendation made by nine countries during the Universal Periodic Review process at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in November 2017 to end all acts of torture and to criminalise torture.