Zimbabwe's police on Thursday arrested top human rights lawyer Alec
Muchadehama. He was arrested outside Harare's Magistrates court where
he had been working on securing the freedom of three high-profile
political prisoners, who were recovering in the hospital after being
kidnapped and allegedly tortured late last year.
In a phone
conversation with VOA, Muchadehama said he had been told by police he
was accused of obstruction of justice by trying to free the three
prisoners through a clerk at the court.
He said he did not know
whether he would be charged immediately or held over the weekend. The
clerk is due to apply for bail Friday after she was arrested on the
same charge last week.
Chief inspector: no comment
Chief Inspector Henry Dowa, who was at
Criminal Investigation Department headquarters, said he could not
comment on Muchadehama's arrest.
One of the prisoners
Muchadehama was trying to release was Movement for Democratic Change
security director Chris Dlamini, who was abducted from his home last
November and is still in the hospital recovering from injuries he
alleged he sustained while being held in a secret location. Prison
guards at the hospital said Dlamini had not been removed from his ward
even though he and two colleagues were to be freed on bail Wednesday.
Charges stem from Mugabe allegations
long-running case against Dlamini and other human rights activists
stems from President Robert Mugabe's allegations the Movement for
Democratic Change was training insurgents in Botswana to overthrow him.
says in his court papers in the upcoming trial he was filmed making a
confession after being tortured. The video was shown at a December
SADC security meeting in Botswana.
Botswanan officials and the
then-chairman of the Southern African Development Community, former
South African president Kgalema Motlanthe, said they could find no
evidence of Mr. Mugabe's claim.
Is police undermining power-sharing government?
Observers say police, who are
under the control of senior officers loyal to Mr. Mugabe, appear to be
deliberately abusing the rule of law to try to undermine the new
The agreement that spawned the unity
government, in which MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai is prime minister and
Mr. Mugabe president, calls for an end to political repression and for
human rights reforms.