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Human rights activist Jestina Mukoko allegedly poisoned in Zimbabwe prison

[JURIST] Imprisoned Zimbabwe human rights activist and head of Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) [advocacy materials] Jestina Mukoko [advocacy website, JURIST news archive] has allegedly been tortured and forced by prison officials to ingest drugs, according to a report [text] in South Africa's Sunday Independent. The torture and poisoning [AFP report] has allegedly taken place in Mukoko's solitary confinement cell at Chikurubi Maximum Security prison where she is being held [JURIST report] on charges of attempting to overthrow the government of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. This news comes after a high court rejected [JURIST report] Mukoko's petition for release to receive medical treatment on Friday. Mukoko's attorney Beatrice Mtetwa has ordered a toxicology test to corroborate the allegations, saying that Mukoko is psychologically traumatized and it is not sure that she has been able to tell the whole story about her treatment because of the constant presence of state officials.

Mukoko, who played a key role in monitoring and publicizing the violence that has occurred before and after the recent Zimbabwe presidential elections and the run-off elections [JURIST report] that followed, was apprehended from her home on December 3 and held in an undisclosed location for several weeks because of her alleged involvement in Mugabe's opposition. Rumors of mistreatment have alarmed human rights groups [OMCT press release] worldwide and compelled worldwide protest.

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