Prominent lawyers defending human rights detained in Zimbabwe

Prominent Lawyers Defending Human Rights Detained In Zimbabwe

Two lawyers, Tapiwa Muchineripi and Douglas Coltart, were apprehended in Harare on Tuesday.

  • On Tuesday, Zimbabwean police arrested two lawyers inside a hospital after they objected to their clients being interrogated.
  • The lawyers had spent the night in jail and were charged with obstructing justice before being released on bail.
  • The attorneys were attending to a recently elected councilor and an activist from the Citizens’ Coalition for Change.

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Two Zimbabwean human rights lawyers appeared in court on Tuesday. They were charged with preventing the police from interrogating their clients, who were opposition members allegedly abducted and tortured, according to sources.

In a Harare hospital, the police arrested Douglas Coltart and Tapiwa Muchineripi when they objected to their clients being questioned by the police. The lawyers argued that their clients were not in a condition to be interrogated due to their medical state. Coltart and Muchineripi, after spending a night in jail, now face charges of obstructing justice.

The lawyers were representing a recently elected councilor and an activist from the largest opposition group in the country, the Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC).

Alec Muchadehama, the lawyer representing Coltart and Muchineripi, argued in court that their arrest was “illegal.”

Muchadehama further explained that the police initially had a “friendly” conversation with the lawyers and had agreed to return at another time. However, when a different police official visited the hospital, the situation became “dramatic,” and the lawyers were accused of obstructing justice.

The CCC strongly condemned the arrests, declaring that the charges were baseless.

Coltart and Muchineripi were both released on $100 bail each.

Womberaishe Nhende and Sanele Mkhulhani, the clients of the lawyers, were allegedly forced out of their vehicle by suspected government agents who were armed, as stated by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR).

According to the ZLHR, Nhende and Mkhulhani were then handcuffed, tasered, beaten with truncheons, and forcibly injected with an unknown substance. They were subsequently left naked near a river.

The CCC stated that both individuals were victims of abduction, torture, and drugging by suspected state agents.

Last month, Zimbabwe held controversial elections that pitted CCC leader Nelson Chamisa against Emmerson Mnangagwa, whose party, ZANU-PF, has been in power since the country’s independence in 1980.

Mnangagwa, 80, was inaugurated on Monday after winning a second term with 52.6% of the vote, while Chamisa, 45, received 44%, according to the official results.

The CCC criticized the outcome, claiming it was flawed, and called for a fresh election. Both regional and international observers have also highlighted numerous irregularities in the ballot.

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