SA law society condemns Zimbabwe arrest

2013-03-18 12:27
A man reads a copy of Zimbabwes draft constitution. (Picture: AFP)

A man reads a copy of Zimbabwes draft constitution. (Picture: AFP)

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Johannesburg - Lawyers must be able to carry out their duties without fear of arrest or harassment, the Law Society of SA (LSSA) said on Monday.

It condemned the arrest of prominent Zimbabwean human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa in Harare on Sunday.

"The LSSA calls on the Zimbabwean government and its police force to release Ms Mtetwa as a matter of urgency," the society said in a statement.

"The steps that the Zimbabwean government is taking to advance its stature in the world will be compromised by actions which undermine the rule of law further."

Police in Zimbabwe arrested Mtetwa and four officials of prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai's party a day after the nation voted in a referendum on a new constitution that calls for more protection against human rights violations.

Mtetwa is being charged with allegedly "obstructing or defeating the course of justice" and Tsvangirai's chief legal adviser, Thabani Mpofu, is accused of impersonating police by compiling dossiers on unspecified crimes, according to the Associated Press.

The arrest came after Mtetwa rendered legal assistance to Mpofu, whose residence was raided and searched early on Sunday morning.

Read more on:    zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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