Zimbabwe: Police arrest prominent human rights lawyer

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Zimbabwean police on Thursday arrested a prominent human rights lawyer Alec Muchadehama at Harare Rotten Row magistrate’s court accusing him of defeating the course of justice.

His arrest as condemned by the Law Society of Zimbabwe and has heightened tensions in the new unity government.

No proper charges have been leveled aganist Muchadehama, who was part of a legal team representing political activists facing terrorism charges.

Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudijena confirmed the arrest but denied that is it politically motivated.

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.

The MDC said the arrest was a “politically motivated and vindictive act” carried out by elements opposed to power-sharing.

“The arrest has nothing to do with the rule of law, but represents the doomed persistence of those fighting the advent of change which is now upon us,” said the party.

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.

This week, police arrested two editors of an independent weekly charged with publishing falsehoods after their newspaper last Friday published an article naming security agents allegedly involved in the abduction of political activists. A Zimbabwean court later released the two on a US$200 bail each.

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