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Mugabe Denounces Amnesty Report on Torture

November 21, 1985

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) _ Prime Minister Robert Mugabe on Wednesday denounced an Amnesty International report that accused his regime of torturing its opponents and holding them in jail without charge.

″It amounts, in our opinion, to a heap of lies. And I am not prepared to carry out an investigation into what I know to be an untruth,″ Mugabe told the National Assembly.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe’s auditor general charged in his annual report that fraud, corruption, theft, bribery and maladminstration are increasing in the nation’s civil service and organized crime is recruiting key personnel.

Mugabe said he had respected Amnesty Interational in the past, ″but it would appear it is becoming ’Amnesty Lies International.‴

The Amnesty report, published last week, expressed particular concern about ill-treatment of political detainees at Stopps Police Camp in Bulawayo, the capital of Matabeleland. There, it said, scores of officials and supporters of opposition leader Joshua Nkomo have been held in a clampdown against the minority party that started last July.

Mugabe also said Ian Smith, the last white prime minister of this former British colony that was called Rhodesia, was ″an incorrigible racist″ who ″should long ago have been hanged and hanged publicly.″

He had been asked to comment on remarks Smith made on a British Broadcasting Corp. television program in which he said blacks were illiterate and inept politicians.

Mugabe said if Smith’s remarks ″constitute the basis for prosecution, we will certainly prosecute him.″

Smith is still a national legislator under Zimbabwe’s British drafted constitution, which reserves 20 of the 100 assembly seats for whites. He refused comment and said he would make his own statement in the assembly later.

Meanwhile, John Hilligan, the nation’s comptroller and auditor general, charged in his annual report to the assembly on Tuesday that there was evidence that ″organizeed crime has infiltrated the public service, recruiting key personnel for frauds.″

It was the third straight year Hilligan warned of the ″severe proportions″ of corruption among civil servants, the majority of them inexperienced people recruited after thousands of whites resigned following independence in April 1980.

Audits ″well below a desirable level of coverage″ had uncovered theft and fraud, he said.

″There must be concern as to what further deficiencies would have been revealed had my staff been able to undertake a more comprehensive audit,″ Hilligan said.

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