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This article participates on the following special index pages:

  • Index of articles on the mistreatment of the legal profession in Zimbabwe

  • Update on the arrest of Makoni and Muchadehama
    Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
    May 07, 2007

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    Following the continued defiance of Justice Karwi's Order handed down on Saturday at 1230hrs (5 May 2007), a further Urgent Application was filed on Sunday morning (6 May 2007) seeking the production of Andrew Makoni and Alec Muchadehama before the High Court so that the Court could confirm their safety and ensure that they were released into the custody of their legal representatives.

    Whilst this was being filed, police from the Law and Order section at Harare Central police station visited the offices of the law firm of Mbidzo, Muchadehama & Makoni taking the two detainees with them. The police, led by one Detective Inspector Muchada, were armed with a search warrant and proceeded to raid the law firm. Lawrence Chibwe, the Deputy Secretary of the Law Society of Zimbabwe, and Otto Saki, were threatened with arrest when they sought to scrutinise the search warrant. Police proceeded to remove certain files and documents from the offices and did not allow the lawyers to take an inventory or remain present during the search.

    It is unlawful to search and remove documents from law offices, as they are protected by legal practitioner-client privilege. This, however, did not deter the police.

    Muchadehama and Makoni were then taken back to CID Law and Order.

    In the afternoon at around 1600hrs, Justice Chitakunye granted a further Order that:

    • The Respondents be and are hereby directed to physically deliver the Applicants before this Honorable Court within one (1) hour of the service of this order on any one of the Respondents.
    • The Applicants' legal practitioners be and are hereby granted leave to serve copies of this order on any of the Respondents or officers of their section.

    Armed with reinforcements, 7 lawyers attended at CID Law and Order section to serve the Order. The situation was extremely tense and several lawyers had to withdraw from the police station fearing imminent arrest by increasingly hostile and uncooperative police officers. The Order was eventually served on the Respondents at 1824hrs, meaning that Muchadehama and Makoni should be brought to the High Court before 1924hrs.

    In a further act of defiance, the police again ignored this Court Order. Lawyers waited in vain at the High Court until around 2130hrs. It is now unclear where Muchadehama and Makoni spent the night. ZLHR lawyers are currently searching for their whereabouts.

    Muchadehama and Makoni were due to appear in court on behalf of clients today in several critical matters affecting personal liberty. Efforts are being made by other lawyers to deal with the cases, but the police defiance of three court orders has directly contributed to the violation of constitutional rights of other Zimbabweans to protection of the law, presumption of innocence, and being represented by lawyer/s of their choice.

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