Lawyers’ group raises alarm over persecution of its members

A group representing human rights lawyers has voiced concern over what it says is the harassment and victimisation of its members.

On Friday, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) issued a statement underlining the importance of lawyers “in advancing the rule of law.

In the statement, the group said: “ZLHR has observed with great concern that lawyers continue to be an endangered species in Zimbabwe.

“Where a lawyer is targeted without just cause and/or due process, this has a chilling effect on other lawyers who will censor themselves and not deliver justice for their clients and the greater national cause,” the lawyers added.

These concerns come in the wake of a series of attacks on human rights lawyers by ZANU PF politicians and the judiciary, which the lawyers say is interfering with their ability to carry out their work effectively.

Recently Justice Chinembiri Bhunu, who was presiding over electoral petitions lodged by the MDC-T, recommended the prosecution of Morgan Tsvangirai’s lawyers, claiming that they had insulted judges.

Bhunu questioned why Tsvangirai’s lawyers Lewis Uriri, Alec Muchadehama and Tarisai Mutangi had allowed their client to raise issues pertaining to the independence of the judiciary in his petition.

Earlier in the year, police arrested respected rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa and charged her with obstructing the course of justice as she went to represent her clients who were being arrested.

Mtetwa’s case is still before the courts in what many have seen as attempts by the state and ZANU PF to muzzle the outspoken lawyer.

“ZLHR finally reiterates that, whilst members of the legal profession are not above the law, any action taken against them must respect and safeguard their constitutional rights and regional norms and standards, and must only be taken in accordance with the principles of natural justice and after due process has been afforded them.

“Where this is not done, justice delivery will be the ultimate loser and confidence in the authorities – not only by the legal profession, but also by society at large – will be adversely affected,” the ZLHR statement said. – SW Radio Africa News

Post published in: News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *