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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
on the illegal arrest and unlawful detention of legal practitioners
Rights NGO Forum
May 11, 2007
the special index page on the mistreatment of the legal profession
The Zimbabwe Human Rights
NGO Forum is shocked by the arrest and detention of prominent human
rights legal practitioners Alec Muchadehama and Andrew Makoni on
Friday 4 May 2007, while carrying out their professional duty to
provide legal representation to their clients in terms of international
and domestic law. A Court Order was handed down by Justice Karwi
on Saturday 5 May 2007 that declared the arrest and detention unlawful.
The Zimbabwe Republic Police ignored the Order, as in now common
practice and incarcerated them until 7 May 2007 when they appeared
before the Magistrates' Court charged with obstructing the course
of justice. Despite an Order by a superior court (High Court) to
the contrary the magistrate held that the lawyers had a case to
answer, effectively overturning the High Court Order.
It is also understood
that the Proesecutor in the case was detained overnight on 5 May
2007 at Harare Central Police Station and reportedly assaulted by
a senior police officer after he was threatened and told to get
Justice Karwi's Order reversed.
This latest example of
the defiance of Court Orders by the police shows that the state
will continue, with impurity, to close democratic space and crush
dissent in Zimbabwe and will use law enforcement and security agents
increasingly to achieve this.
of the provision of article 18 of the Constitution
of Zimbabwe, lawyers were denied access to Messrs Muchadehama
and Makoni, were not permitted to be present when they were being
interrogated by the police and an attempt was made to assault one
of the lawyers, who was seeking access to them, by a senior police
officer in the presence of other police officers.
On Tuesday 8 May 2007,
members of the Law Society of Zimbabwe assembled outside the High
Court in Harare to march to the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary
Affairs in protest against the arrests and in solidarity with their
The assembled lawyers
were confronted by riot police, and some Army details and warned
by a senior police officer that the gathering was illegal and that
they should disperse, which they did. In the process, the riot police
pushed and assaulted those dispersing and arrested the President
of the Law Society and four lawyers. They were taken to a vlei near
Eastlea, savagely assaulted and left at the site.
its grave concern at the latest onslaught against democracy in Zimbabwe,
the Human Rights NGO Forum calls on international, regional and
local bodies to urge the Zimbabwe government to abide by its international
obligations and its own Constitution, particularly article 18, which
provides that every person is entitled to protection of the law
and sets out principles to be adhered to in order to achieve this
Visit the Zimbabwe
Human Rights NGO Forum fact
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