Inside the Zimbabwe prison/death camps

Washington Times:

Halfway through a 25-month sentence for theft, Brian Gumbo is literally rotting away - his skin peels because of malnutrition and the muscles in his legs have withered to the point where he can barely walk.

Mr. Gumbo, thought to be in his late 20s or early 30s, is one of several inmates videotaped through hidden cameras inside Zimbabwe's prisons.

The images, shared with The Washington Times, are of gaunt prisoners with protruding ribs reminiscent of just-freed Holocaust survivors or Muslim prisoners held by Serbian troops during the Bosnian war.

"As an investigative journalist, I've seen a lot of human misery," said Johann Abrahams, executive producer of "Hell Hole," a documentary scheduled for broadcast Tuesday on the South African Broadcasting Corp. (SABC).

"But when I first viewed the Zimbabwe prison tapes, it shocked me. I was reminded of the German death camps at Dachau and Auschwitz," he said.

Mr. Abrahams said several inmates featured in the documentary have since died.

He said his crew was able to obtain the images by working secretly with prison officers who wanted to expose the abuse.

The images compound reports of continued human rights atrocities in Zimbabwe, despite a recent power-sharing deal between President Robert Mugabe and the opposition, and are likely to increase pressure for tougher measures against the southern African nation.


As desperate as things are outside the Zimbabwe prison system they are even worse inside. It is not surprising when you consider the countries health system has been virtually shut down, as well as its education system. About the only thing functioning are the institutions that guard Mugabe.


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