Abducted, beaten, sexually assaulted and jailed for protesting

Joanah, Netsai and Cecillia - ZIMBABWE



As part of Amnesty’s 2022 Write for Rights 500,000 people demand justice for Cecillia and Joanah. Amnesty International Zimbabwe also supported them through trial observation and mobilising local solidarity.

In July 2023, Cecillia and Joanah were acquitted!

This is a huge win for Cecillia and Joanah, and for everyone who participated in Write for Rights last year.

Explore more 2023 wins including a video from Cecillia and Joanah opening your letters and thanking all of Amnesty International supporters for their help.

WARNING: The following is hard to read. It contains descriptions of violent and inhumane treatment.


Friends Joanah Mamombe, Netsai Marova and Cecillia Chimbiri were abducted, beaten and sexually assaulted after leading an anti-government protest in Zimbabwe. They now face jail for their peaceful actions. Demand justice for them now.

Joanah, Netsai and Cecillia are three women with a lot of things in common: they love playing board games, watching Netflix and are passionate about politics. Sadly, they now share horrific memories of a terrible and degrading attack.

On 13 May 2020, after leading an anti-government protest, Joanah, Netsai and Cecillia were arbitrarily arrested in Harare, taken to a police station and forced into an unmarked car. With hoods over their heads, they were driven out of the city. Scared for their lives, the women were thrown into a pit, beaten, sexually assaulted and forced to eat human excrement. They were found two days later, miles from Harare. Their clothes torn, covered in cuts and bruises, they were taken to hospital.

While still hospitalized, Joanah, Netsai, and Cecillia were charged with criminal offences relating to the protest. Prison guards and police officers were stationed at the hospital to prevent them from talking to journalists. After stating that they recognized some of their attackers, the women were re-arrested on 10 June 2020 and charged with faking their ordeal. They were detained until 26 June 2020, when they were given bail.

Joanah, Netsai, and Cecillia’s trial began in January 2022 and continues. To date, no one has been held accountable for their terrible trauma.