New York, May 14, 2009--Police in Zimbabwe
should immediately release Alec Muchadehama, left, a prominent human rights
lawyer targeted for his work on behalf of journalist Anderson Shadreck Manyere and
others, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Two agents of the Zimbabwe
police's Law and Order section arrested Alec Muchadehama at the Rotten Row
Magistrates Courts in Harare
this morning, according to a statement released by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights. Following
questioning at Harare Central Police Station, police charged Muchadehama with "obstructing the course of justice"
under Zimbabwe's Criminal Law Codification and (Reform) Act, according to the
Media Institute of Southern Africa. The institute reported that the charges
pertained to the lawyer's negotiation of Manyere's release on bail.
Muchadehama is part of a legal team that has successfully
challenged ongoing efforts by state prosecutors to keep Manyere and a few
activists in prison pending their trial on anti-state charges next month,
according to CPJ research. He is the second
media lawyer that has been illegally arrested in the last 12 months, after police
Nkomo last May.
"Alec Muchadema should be released immediately and this pattern of
intimidation against lawyers who defend journalists must stop," said CPJ's Africa
Program Coordinator Tom Rhodes.
was expected to remain in custody overnight at the Braeside police station in Harare, according to
lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa. Mtetwa said she was among friends and colleagues who
drove in a convoy behind the vehicle that took Muchadehama to Braeside station.
"With these abductions, you're never sure where they can take people," she
said. Mtetwa was the subject of a criminal
investigation this year.
Two years ago this month, Mtetwa was detained and assaulted