Assault on Zimbabwe human rights lawyer condemned

Douglas Coltart

Harare-The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has condemned what they called despicable conduct of some Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers following assault of human rights lawyer Douglas Coltart on Saturday while discharging his professional duties.

In a statement ZLHR said the attack puts the integrity and independence of the legal profession at risk.

“ZLHR strongly condemns the despicable conduct of some Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers, who physically assaulted human rights lawyer Douglas Coltart on Saturday 23 November 2019 while discharging his professional duties

“ZLHR strongly condemns the brutal actions of the police. Such conduct puts the integrity and independence of the legal profession at critical risk” read the statement

Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Secretary for Justice and Legal Affairs, Innocent Gonese said the assault vindicates that the new regime is worse than the previous one.

“As the MDC we believe in upholding the Rule of Law and the brazen violation and trampling upon of citizen rights has no place in a modern society and it is disconcerting that police continue behaving in this manner particularly when the Regime wants to mislead the world that we are in a new dispensation but the facts on the ground show that it is worse than the previous one and in fact would not be out of place if placed alongside the Nazi or apartheid regimes” said Gonese

Coltart, a member of ZLHR, was assaulted at Harare Central Police Station by some unidentified police officers after he had attended to offer emergency legal and other attendant support services to Obert Masaraure, the President of Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ), who had been arrested on Saturday by ZRP officers and charged with disorderly conduct.

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The attack on Coltart comes three months after some ZRP officers assaulted the same human rights lawyer while executing his professional duties of representing some ARTUZ members, who had been arrested while intending to hand over a petition to Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube’s Office in Harare demanding improved remuneration and favourable working conditions for teachers.

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