The Law Society of Zimbabwe is greatly concerned by the allegations of police brutality committed on one of its members, Mr Douglas Coltart whilst he was in the course of executing his duties as a legal practitioner.
The Law Society is equally concerned that Lawyers seeking to represent their client were obstructed by the Zimbabwe Republic Police Officers.
The Council contacted the members and they indeed confirmed that they were denied access to their client whilst Doug Coltart was assaulted by officers of the Zimbabwe Republic Police whilst visiting his client. Written accounts in this regard have been received by the LSZ.
The Law Society takes a dim view of the issues raised in the written accounts. The Law society condemns police brutality in whatever form. We reiterate once again that the Constitution provides for the right to personal security.
Every person has a right to freedom from all forms of violence from public or private sources. The state is obligated to provide the security and not to breach the right.
The Law Society of Zimbabwe further reiterates the constitutionally enshrined right to legal representation. In addition to the constitutional provisions, the High Court has declared the right of lawyers to carry out their work without hindrance.
The declaratur reiterates the internationally held principle that a lawyer has the right to exercise his profession unhindered and without being associated with the cause of his client. The acts by the police are in contempt of that standing declaratory order.
The LSZ accordingly calls upon the members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police to;
Conduct themselves with the utmost respect for all the fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution and all the international instruments to which Zimbabwe is a state party.
More particularly to respect the right to freedom from all forms of violence as enshrined in Sec 52(a) of the Constitution.
The LSZ calls upon the Commissioner-General of Police to take immediate disciplinary action on the errant police officers.