A human rights lawyers based in Harare was on Friday detained by police while representing clients at the Harare Magistrates’ Court and later released without a charge.
The lawyer, Webster Jiti, was accused of undermining police authority by making “noise in the corridors”.
Jiti was in court to represent Takudzwa Ngadziore, leader of the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU), and Tapiwa Chiriga, who are accused of violating COVID-19 restrictions.
The Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) condemned police’s “unwarranted” “heavy-handedness” saying lawyers should be allowed to work without interference. LSZ president Wellington Magaya told ZimLive:
I am yet to get the full details but the heavy-handedness on the part of the police is unwarranted.
A lawyer is an officer of the court and must never be arrested for doing their work. Lawyers must be allowed to operate independently and without interference.
We are also tracking another matter in which a lawyer Tendekai Hove of Hove Legal Practice was arrested for acting on his client’s instructions.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), whose attorneys are leading the charge against state-sponsored human rights violations, also criticized Jiti’s detention.