Human rights lawyer arrested, released

HARARE - Trust Maanda, a Harare human rights lawyer, has been arrested on allegations of obstructing or defeating the course of justice.

Maanda was represented by fellow lawyers from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, Jeremiah Bamu and Andrew Makoni.

Speaking to the Daily News yesterday, Bamu confirmed Maanda’s arrest.

He said the lawyer was released after a warned and cautioned statement was recorded.

The police indicated they would proceed with the case once ready.

Bamu said the offence arose from a case that Maanda was handling involving clients, who filed an application at the High Court for the release of their impounded cars.

The clients also sought compensation for the heavy-handed treatment they suffered at the hands of the police.

According to Bamu, police claim Maanda incited his clients to institute legal proceedings against police and described police conduct as reprehensible.

“He (Maanda) is being persecuted for instituting his mandate as a legal practitioner.

“It compromises the right of citizens to obtain legal representation through lawyers,” Bamu said.

He told the Daily News that the police’s action was a flagrant attack on Maanda’s profession as a legal practitioner.

“It is not only an attack on him (Maanda) as an individual; it is an attack on the entire legal profession,” he said.

“Reduced to its specifics, Maanda’s arrest means that no legal practitioner is free to take instructions given by a client.

“This cannot be accepted in a democratic society particularly with an expanded Bill of Rights which we have in the new Constitution.”

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