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14 May  2009



Alec Muchadehama

Zimbabwean  prominent human rights lawyer


 accused him of defeating the course of justice. 

Source     .





Zimbabwean police arrested Alec Muchadehama  a prominent human rights  , accusing him of defeating the course of justice, one of his lawyers said, in a move that could heighten tensions in the new unity government.

Two agents of the Zimbabwe police’s Law and Order section arrested Alec Muchadehama at the Rotten Row Magistrates Courts in Harare this morning, according to a statement released by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights. Following questioning at Harare Central Police Station, police charged Muchadehama with “obstructing the course of justice” under Zimbabwe’s Criminal Law Codification and (Reform) Act, according to the Media Institute of Southern Africa. The institute reported that the charges pertained to the lawyer’s negotiation of Manyere’s release on bail.

The allegations are that Muchadehama, connived with his co-accused Constance Gambara, a clerk to High Court Judge Chinembiri Bhunu and facilitated the unlawful release of the three from Chikurubi Maximum Prison on 17 April 2009. It is alleged that they did this despite knowledge of the fact that a subsequent court order had been granted giving the state leave to appeal against the granting of bail.

UPDATED 15/5/2009 : Alec Muchadehama was granted bail of US$100, a day after being arrested and charged with obstructing the course of justice, in a case involving three abductees.

Muchadehama is part of a legal team that has successfully challenged ongoing efforts by state prosecutors to keep Manyere and a few activists in prison pending their trial on anti-state charges next month, according to CPJ research. He is the second media lawyer that has been illegally arrested in the last 12 months, after police arrested Harrison Nkomo last May.

The accused lawyer, Alec Muchadehama, was part of a legal team representing political activists facing terrorism charges.

Before Muchadehama's arrest, a statement from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said police wanted to question him for allegedly improperly facilitating the release of three activists, including a former aide of MDC leader Tsvangirai.

Defence lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa told reporters that Muchadehama's arrest showed that the unity government had yet to protect the freedom of human rights activists.

"This is a continuation of harassment of human rights defenders and I hope this is something the inclusive government will address. This is intimidation," Mtetwa said.

Zimbabwe's unity government, formed by rivals President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, is under pressure to implement political reforms before donors provide much needed financial aid to rescue the battered economy.

The arrest of several rights activists and members of Tsvangirai's MDC party for allegedly plotting to topple Mugabe has strained relations between the governing partners. A Zimbabwean court later released the two on bail.

On 13 May, Tsvangirai said violations of the power-sharing deal were depriving the country of aid from Western donors pushing for democratic reforms.

The MDC said in a statement on Thursday that its national council would meet on Sunday to review the party's role in the inclusive unity deal and the challenges the government continues to face since its formation in February.

Police in Zimbabwe should immediately release Alec Muchadehama, a prominent human rights lawyer targeted for his work on behalf of journalist Anderson Shadreck Manyere and others, the Committee to Protect Journalists said  .







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