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Zim cops refuse to release rights lawyer

18 March 2013, 14:41

Cape Town - Zimbabwean police have defied a High Court order by refusing to release human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa from custody after she was arrested in Harare on Sunday.

Mtetwa was arrested when she went to assist Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's chief legal adviser, Thabani Mpofu, during a police raid at his Harare home.

According to an independent lawyers group, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Mtetwa was accused of "obstructing or defeating the course of justice".

Spokesperson for the group Kumbirai Mafunda told News24 that police were still holding Mtetwa.

"Yes, she is still being held by the police and lawyers are at the police station trying to have her released," said Mafunda.

Mafunda said Mtetwa was supposed to have been releases at 02:00 on Monday as ordered by the High Court.

He said the defiance of the court order by the police was worrying.

"It's unfortunate that police are taking the law into their own hands. We are worried by the defiance of the court order. The development is meant to intimidate lawyers to stop them from doing their work."


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