SADC lawyers condemn attack on local rights attorney

Human Rights

By Staff Reporter

SADC Lawyers Association (SADC-LA) has issued a statement against the recent brutal assault of Zimbabwean rights lawyer, Kudzai Kadzere by armed police officers.

The association said this was a cause for concern especially when Zimbabwe is reading itself for harmonised elections to be held in a few months.

Kadzere was beaten by over 40 anti-riot police officers on Saturday at Budiriro police station where he was responding to a call for legal representation by opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) supporters.

He sustained a fractured arm and has since gone through surgery to correct his brutalised wrist.

“The acute escalation of violence in a period shortly preceding a crucial election for Zimbabwe warrants deep concern.

“SADC- LA calls on SADC and the AU to provide swift and adequate support to the Government of Zimbabwe, and relevant stakeholders to ensure a neutral environment for enforcement and enjoyment of all human rights,” reads the statement.

The association said this is in accordance with the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG), the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers as well as Zimbabwe’s own constitution.

SADC -LA also expressed concern on violation of Kadzere’s rights as a licenced lawyer.

“SADC- LA deeply regrets and strongly condemns the attack on lawyer Mr Kudzai Kadzere in Harare, Zimbabwe by members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) on the 14th of January 2023.

“The right to legal representation is guaranteed in the constitution of Zimbabwe.

“The perpetration of violence by police on an unarmed civilian acting in a professional capacity to uphold the constitutional rights of other citizens presents the highest level of disregard for the rule of law,” reads the statement.

A day after the assault, Kadzere was arrested at Budiriro police station where he had gone to report the officers who attacked him.

He was charged with criminal nuisance and escaping from lawful custody.

The lawyer is due to appear in court this Thursday.

Meanwhile, SADC- LA implored the Zimbabwean government  and the responsible ministers to swiftly ensure protection of lawyers and other key stakeholders such as journalists in the discharge of their mandate.

They also demanded authorities to hold to account those responsible for the unsanctioned violation of Kadzere and his clients.




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