Zimbabwe : Arrest and detention of human rights lawyers

On September 4, human rights defenders Doug Coltart and Tapiwa Muchineripi of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), who represent two members of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) who had been abducted and were being treated in a Harare hospital, were arrested and charged with obstructing the course of justice. The lawyers were arrested for informing the police that the two political opponents were in poor health and receiving medical treatment. The police rejected their request for bail. Their clients, Womberaiishe Nhende, elected councillor for Harare’s Glen Norah Ward 27, and Sonele Mukhuhlani, were abducted and tortured before being abandoned on the outskirts of Harare on September 2.

In reaction to the arrest and arbitrary detention of the two lawyers, Doug Coltart and Tapiwa Muchineripi, by Zimbabwe police on September 4, 2023, on the grounds that they defended Womberaiishe Nhende, an elected opposition councillor, and Sonele Mukhuhlani, who were abducted and tortured over the weekend, Khanyo Farisè, deputy director for southern Africa at Amnesty International, said:

We strongly condemn the arrest and detention of these human rights lawyers simply for carrying out their duties. Their arrest is a travesty and a further blow to what remains of the rule of law in Zimbabwe. Charges against Doug Coltart and Tapiwa Muchineripi must be dropped

Zimbabwe is a bad pupil when it comes to respect for human rights, and shows no signs of changing either now or in the years to come.

Keneth Ononga

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