Back to Index
This article participates on the following special index pages:
Index of articles on the mistreatment of the legal profession in Zimbabwe
lawyers immediately says IBA
Bar Association (IBA)
May 08, 2007
the special index page on the mistreatment of the legal profession
Zimbabwean human rights
lawyers Andrew Makoni and Alex Muchadehama must be immediately released,
said the Human Rights Institute of the International Bar Association's
Mr Muchadehama and Mr
Makoni, well known for their effective representation of political
activists facing highly politicised criminal charges, were arrested
in Harare, on Friday 4 April.
Since their arrest, the
High Court of Zimbabwe has declared their arrest and detention unlawful
and ordered police to release them. This habeas corpus writ was
ignored, as was a subsequent court order, issued on 6 April, requiring
police to render the detainees to the High Court.
The arrest was followed
on Sunday by a search of the lawyers' offices, where police
examined and seized documents protected by the attorney-client privilege.
Lawyers from the organization Zimbabwe Lawyers to Human Right who
attempted to prevent the seizure of privileged documents were physically
threatened by the police offers at the scene and warned that they
'would be next'.
"The arrest and
detention of Mr Makoni and Mr Muchadehama is another example of
the precarious situation in which human rights lawyers work in Zimbabwe,"
said Mark Ellis, Executive Director of the International Bar Association.
"We are witnessing an extremely worrying turn in the rule
of law situation in Zimbabwe. Mugabe's government has escalated
attacks on political dissenters in recent weeks and no effective
international action is being taken to stop the flagrant violation
of international law in that country. Lawyers who denounce these
attacks on fundamental freedoms and defend victims are now targets",
added Mr Ellis.
The International Bar
Association called for the release of the lawyers and drew the Zimbabwean
government's attention to international standards, in particular,
the provisions of the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, which
provide that Governments must ensure that lawyers are able to perform
all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance
It urged the Zimbabwean
authorities to respect their international obligations under the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African
Charter for Human and Peoples Rights, in particular provisions which
guarantees the right to liberty, security and the protection of
the law and called on Southern Africa Development Community (SADC)
leaders to act.
Bar Association calls on SADC leaders to demonstrate resolve in
their efforts to resolve the Zimbabwean crisis by making clear to
Mugabe that the crackdown must stop.' Mr Ellis added.
Please credit www.kubatana.net if you make use of material from this website.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.