NZ Law Society urges immediate release of Zimbabwean lawyer
21 March 2013
New Zealand Law Society urges immediate release of Zimbabwean lawyer
The New Zealand Law Society has called for the immediate release of an imprisoned Zimbabwean human rights lawyer.
Beatrice Mtetwa, a former president of the Law Society of Zimbabwe and a prominent human rights lawyer, was arrested on 17 March on charges of obstructing the course of justice. She remains in police custody in spite of a High Court order for her release.
The convenor of the New Zealand Law Society’s Rule of Law Committee, Austin Forbes QC, said the arrest followed an early morning police raid on the home of her client Thabani Mpofu, legal adviser to Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
“It appears that Ms Mtetwa was arrested after she asked police to provide a search warrant and an inventory of confiscated items. She also attempted to film the raid by using her mobile phone. She was arrested and charged with obstructing the course of justice,” Mr Forbes said.
“The right of lawyers everywhere to represent their clients and without undue harassment or arrest is a fundamental ingredient of the rule of law. The New Zealand Law Society calls for the immediate release of Ms Mtetwa.”
Mr Forbes said the New Zealand Law Society supported the International Bar Association, which has also called for Ms Mtetwa’s release. The Law Society is one of over 200 lawyers organisations which belong to the IBA.