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East London Daily Dispatch, South Africa, 16 December 1987
Court rules against Zimbabwe flogging
HARARE -- A full bench of Zimbabwean supreme court judges has ruled that the flogging of adults is a violation of the declaration of rights entrenched in the 1980 Lancaster House independence constitution.
Mr Justice Alan Gubbay, in a judgement supported by Chief Justice Dumbutshena and Appeal Judges Mcnally, Jorsah and Lanyqckrqn, set aside sentence of lashes imposed on the Ndebele men who raped young girls between six and 13 years.
The rapists will now serve minimum seven year jail terms.
Mr Justice Gubbay ruled that sentences of whipping imposed on adult men violate the constitutional declaration which states that: "No person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading punishment, or other such treatment."
He said whipping was "Repugnant to the consciences of civilised men" and was "degrading to both punished and punisher."
"Irrespective of the offence he has committed, the vilest criminal remains a human being possessed of common human dignity," he ruled.
The ruling will now have to be overturned by a formal act of parliament, possibly backed by a constitutional amendment, if Mr Robert Mugabe's government wishes to restore flogging of adult men to the statute book.
Male juveniles under 18 years may still be sentenced to a "moderate correction with a light cane."
Technically, women and girls are banned from subjection to any form of corporal punishment.
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