HOME Affairs and Internal Security Minister Jack Mwiimbu says he is not aware of any torture that is being inflicted on suspects in custody.

Recently, Lusaka Lawyer Makebi Zulu said his client Shebby Chilekwa was passing urine with blood as his manhood was allegedly pulled by one of the police officers.

The Human Rights Commission (HRC) also urged the police to respond to allegations of torture of Chilekwa.

But Police Spokesperson Rae Hamoonga said he could not comment on the matter because it was in court.

And in an interview, Mwiimbu said torturing suspects or anyone was a criminal offense.

“I am not aware of any torture that is being inflicted on [a] suspect in custody. It must be noted that torturing suspects or anyone is a criminal offense. The new dawn administration does not condone criminality of any sort,” said Mwiimbu.

Speaking to journalists shortly after he visited Chilekwa at Central Police recently, Zulu said his client was assaulted and was passing urine with blood.

“We went to Court this morning. We applied for Habeas Corpus so that he (Chilekwa) is brought to Court and the Court gave us the order for him to be taken to Court for the purpose of examining why he was detained without a charge. And we came here to Central police and presented the order to the officer at the cells, they gave us access to see him. We managed to see him and indeed, he has been assaulted. His back is bruised and he is complaining that since Friday, he has been passing urine with blood. He complained that Chief Inspector Chomba beat him up, pulled his manhood and the man is in pain,” said Zulu.

Meanwhile, in a statement, Monday, the Human Rights Commission (HRC) said the commission was unable to confirm whether or not Chilekwa, who is former president Edgar Lungu’s barber, was tortured by the police because it was unable to meaningfully engage with the suspect.

HRC chairperson Mudford Mwandenga lamented that the Commission was not able to meaningfully engage with Chilekwa because the meeting took place in the presence of a police officer.

“The Human Rights Commission (HRC/Commission) has noted with consternation that the Zambia Police Service (Police) has created an impression that the Commission was the competent body to issue a statement on the allegations of torture of Mr Sheeby Chilekwa. This is against the background that the Commission had supposedly been given an opportunity by the Police to visit Mr. Chilekwa in Police detention. The Commission indeed confirms having visited him in Police detention. But the Commission regrets to state that the effort by the Police to enable the Commission visit the suspect was uninspiring as the suspect was met in the presence of a Police officer,” stated Mwandenga.

“Therefore, the Commission was not able to meaningfully engage with the suspect. Further efforts to undertake adequate investigations were not successful because the police officers were not co-operative. In the circumstances, the Commission is not in a position to confirm whether or not the suspect was tortured.”