Thursday, February 12, 2009

Human Rights Defenders Alert

12 February 2009

A Harare Magistrate on Thursday 12 February 2009 granted free bail to two project lawyers of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) and eight members of the group Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), who were arrested on Tuesday 10 February 2009.
The ten including the lawyers Ms Roselyn Hanzi and Mr Tawanda Zhuwarara were finally brought to court on Thursday 12 February 2009 after spending two nights in police detention at the notorious Harare Central Police Station.
Magistrate Gloria Takundwa granted free bail and ordered the human rights lawyers and the WOZA members to reside at their given residential addresses and not to interfere with State witnesses. The ten will return to court on 04 March 2009 for commencement of trial.
Ms Roselyn Hanzi and Mr Tawanda Zhuwarara were arrested by unidentified members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) on 10 February 2009 as they were returning to the ZLHR office situated next to the Parliament building after lunch. Regrettably, they were caught in the crossfire of further indiscriminate arrests carried out by the ZRP arising from a demonstration outside Parliament building in Harare by the Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA). With the complicity of Parliamentary staff, they were unlawfully detained in the Parliament Guard Room, until police details removed them to Harare Central police station.
In contravention of constitutional protective provisions relating to detained persons, but in the customary fashion of the ZRP, lawyers who attempted to get access to Hanzi and Zhuwarara at Harare Central were denied access by the police on the day of their arrest and only obtained access to their clients on Wednesday 11 February 2009.

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