Harare – Zimbabwean pro-democracy activist Itai Dzamara's younger brother was on Monday brutally assaulted and arrested for protesting the abduction of Itai in front of President Robert Mugabe, local media reports said on Tuesday.
According to NewsDay, Patson Dzamara caught state security by "surprise" when he staged a one-man demonstration, waving a placard, demanding that Mugabe, 92, accounts for his missing brother.
Mugabe was delivering a keynote address at the national sports stadium in Harare, marking the 36th anniversary of the southern African country’s independence from colonial rule.
A New Zimbabwe report quoted witnesses as saying that Patson had wrapped himself with a Zimbabwean flag and risen to his feet with a placard when Mugabe started delivering his speech.
"The brave Patson raised his placard right in front of Mugabe... Security details took him outside the ground where he was handcuffed and severely assaulted," one of the witnesses was quoted as saying.
Patson’s lawyer, Gift Mtisi, said that after the battering, his client was briefly taken to Harare Central Police Station, where he was released without charge, and was taken to a local private hospital where he was recovering.
"I am on his hospital bedside right now," Mtisi was quoted as saying.
See picture of Patson in hospital below.
Dzamara, a father of two, was abducted by five men who stormed a barbershop in Glenview, Harare, while he was having a haircut in March 2015.
He had been staging protests in Harare's Africa Unity Square, calling on Mugabe to step down.
The Zimbabwean government has denied responsibility.