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  • Urgent appeal: Human Rights Lawyers under siege in Zimbabwe
    Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
    May 07, 2007

    The secretariat of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) requests your immediate URGENT intervention in the following situation in Zimbabwe regarding the unlawful arrest and continued detention of human rights lawyers in Zimbabwe.

    Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) notes with mounting outrage and consternation the perpetual harassment of human rights Lawyers in Zimbabwe - ZLHR is particularly concerned with the unlawful arrest and continued detention of human rights lawyers, Alec Muchadehama and Andrew Makoni.

    Background of the case
    Wednesday 25 April: The wives of the two lawyers receive two anonymous calls at two different occasions and the calls were both threatening the families of the two lawyers saying that they were going to be dealt with ruthlessly and that their husbands will meet the same fate. Suspected Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operatives began following the lawyers , keeping their distance and monitoring their movements.

    Friday 4 May: The CIOs who were following the two lawyers, together with police details from the Law and Order section approached the two lawyers at around 16h30, outside the High Court during the course of their business and arrested them. They were taken to the Law and Order section at Harare Central police station "for interrogation" but were not provided with reasons for their arrest. This time the Zimbabwe intelligence seem to have handed them to the police. Lawyers attending at the Law and Order section were able to confirm the presence of the two lawyers but were chased out of the offices by Detective Inspector Rangwani, who also threatened to physically assault the lawyers in attendance.

    An urgent application (HC 2346/07) was filed by ZLHR at the High Court of Zimbabwe, and at around 21h30, Justice Tedius Karwi granted a "temporary order" directing the police to allow lawyers access to Makoni and Muchadehama and to allow them access to food, medical attention if necessary, and visitation by their relatives, pending the hearing of the matter the following day. Despite this, the police defied the court order and denied access. Two court orders to this effect have been disregarded to date. Efforts to locate the lawyers have been futile for the past three days and the harassment and threats to other human lawyers have continued with impunity.

    ZLHR strongly condemns the unlawful actions of the police in this matter. Senior police officers at several stations, as well as the entire Law and Order section, continue to remain a law unto themselves, and impunity for their actions is further entrenched as each day passes. Further, the continued contempt of court orders by the police has become an everyday phenomenon and no person is safe from those who are constitutionally obliged to protect the people of Zimbabwe. Such actions cannot be tolerated or condoned in a democratic society.

    ZLHR calls upon all human rights organizations, citizens of Zimbabwe, Individuals beyond Zimbabwe, fellow human rights defenders, advocates and friends of freedom to take action and write to the Zimbabwean Government to restore rule of law.

    Action requested
    Please write to the Zimbabwean authorities, urging them to:

    1. Immediately release the two lawyers, Alec Muchadehama and Andrew Makoni
    2. Immediately cease the molestation, use of threats, mental torture and interference with privacy, family and home of Mr Muchadehama and Mr Makoni.
    3. Immediately cease the use of intimidation against lawyers who are officials of the court and should be allowed to carry out their duties without fear.
    4. Respect the rulings and judgments of the courts of Zimbabwe and cease the current culture of ridicule towards such rulings and orders of the High Court of Zimbabwe.


    1. Director of Intelligence, Office of the President, Private Bag 7700, Causeway, Harare, Zimbabwe, Fax : +263 4 708 211
    2. Mr. Khembo Mohadi, Minister of Home Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs, 11th Floor Mukwati Building, Private Bag 7703, Causeway, Harare, Zimbabwe, Fax : +263 4 726 716
    3. Mr. Patrick Chinamasa, Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Fax: + 263 4 77 29 99
    4. Mr. Augustine Chihuri, Police Commissioner, Police Headquarters, P.O. Box 8807, Causeway, Harare, Zimbabwe, Fax : +263 4 253 212 / 728 768 / 726 084
    5. Mr. Sobuza Gula Ndebele, Attorney-General, Office of the Attorney, PO Box 7714, Causeway, Harare, Zimbabwe, Fax: + 263 4 77 32 47
    6. Mrs. Chanetsa, Office of the Ombudsman Fax: + 263 4 70 41 19
    7. Ambassador Mr. Chitsaka Chipaziwa, Permanent Mission of Zimbabwe to the United Nations in Geneva, Chemin William Barbey 27, 1292 Chambésy, Switzerland, Fax: + 41 22 758 30 44, Email:

    Visit the ZLHR fact sheet

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