US detainees torture claim

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THREE AMERICANS held in Zimbabwe on charges of terrorism, espionage and sabotage said yesterday that they were being treated inhumanely, were forced to sleep naked and were shackled in small cells lit round the clock.

At a remand hearing at Harare magistrates' court, Jeremy Callow, lawyer for the defence, alleged in a report that the three Americans were being held in solitary confinement in windowless single cells and without the right to take any exercise.

John Dixon Lamonte, 35, Gary George Blanchard, 35, and Joseph Wendell Pettijohn, 34, were arrested at Harare airport on 7 March for illegal possession of arms. They said at their first court appearance, on 13 March, that they had suffered torture, including electric shocks to the genitals.

Yesterday, Mr Callow gave more details of the three men's alleged torture, saying his clients had been forced to display their sexual organs, simulate love-making and had been threatened with sodomy and death.

The three were remanded in custody until 23 April. They face maximum sentences of life in prison if convicted.