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Zimbabwe Human Rights Group Condemns Detention of Legislator - 2004-01-15


The group Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights has condemned the continued detention of a ruling party legislator, whose release was ordered by Zimbabwe's High Court Sunday.

Zimbabwe's human rights lawyers have stepped in many times before to condemn police for what they consider unlawful detentions. But, in the case of Philip Chiyangwa, this is the first time they have intervened on behalf of a wealthy, ruling party member of parliament.

He is being jailed in connection with the collapse of an asset management company, whose directors are now charged with serious fraud.

Through his lawyer, Mr. Chiyangwa has argued that his arrest was politically motivated and that police have abused their powers. The police opposed any attempts to free him for fear he would interfere with their investigation. But the High Court sided with Mr. Chiyangwa and ordered his immediate release.

Despite the order, police are keeping Mr. Chiyangwa in custody, saying the court order was incomplete and was not served upon them properly.

So far, Zimbabwe police have arrested three more investment bankers and closed down another three asset management companies. Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said Thursday that the police would be continuing investigations in the financial sector for some time.

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