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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
assault lawyers, violently break up march
May 08, 2007
the special index page on the mistreatment of legal professions
police, on 8 May 2007 assaulted Harare lawyers before violently
breaking up a march protesting the illegal arrest and detention
of two human rights lawyers.
Prominent Human Rights
lawyers Aleck Muchadehama and Andrew Makoni, partners in a law firm
Mbidzo Muchadehama and Makoni were arrested on 4 May 2007 at Harare
High Court. Muchadehama and Makoni are lawyers for the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and at the time of their arrest
they were coming from the High Court were they have lodged various
bail applications on behalf of incarcerated opposition activists.
They spent the whole weekend in police custody and were only released
on bail of Z$500,000 (US$33) each in the evening of 7 May 2007.
Muchadehama was detained
at the notorious Matapi Police Station which was declared by the
Supreme Court to be having inhuman and degrading detention conditions.
During the period of
their incarceration, the High Court issued three orders. The first
was 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.
The second was a consent
order which declared that the arrests were unlawful and that Makoni
and Muchadehama should be immediately released.
The third ordered that
Makoni and Muchadehama be produced at Harare High Court within an
hour of service of that order. The order was served on 6 May 2007
at 18h24 meaning the duo should have been produced at the High Court
All the orders were ignored
by the police who went further to raid the offices of the law firm
of Mbidzo, Muchadehama & Makoni taking the two detainees with
them. 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
the barbaric and uncivilized manner in which the police had conducted
themselves in the matter, lawyers decided on a march in solidarity
with the two as well as to register their displeasure at police's
behaviour. Police however descended on the marchers at High Court
where the march was to start and immediately broke the gathering
and in the process assaulting the lawyers with truncheons, booted
feet and fists.
notes with grave concern the impunity with which the police disregard
the law and total lack of decency now perverse in police work. MISA-Zimbabwe,
therefore, condemns in no uncertain terms the heavy-handed manner
in which police conducted themselves today and in many cases of
harassment of innocent citizens exercising their right to freedom
the MISA-Zimbabwe fact
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