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Law Society calls for immediate release of Zimbabwe Law Society ex-president

18 March 2013

The Law Society of England and Wales has called for the immediate release of Ms Beatrice Mtetwa, the past president of the Zimbabwe Law Society.

Prominent human rights lawyer Ms Mtetwa was arrested this weekend after she tried to make enquiries as to the reason why her client Thabani Mpofu was under arrest. She is detained at the Harare Central Police Station.

According to the Law Society, the arrest of Ms Mtetwa does not comply with United Nations basic principles on the role of lawyers which state that:

  • Governments shall ensure that lawyers are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference;
  • Where the security of lawyers is threatened as a result of discharging their functions, they shall be adequately safeguarded by the authorities;
  • Lawyers shall not be identified with their clients or their clients' causes as a result of discharging their functions.

The Law Society is now calling for the immediate release of Ms Mtetwa.

Law Society chief executive Desmond Hudson said:

'This blatant lack of respect for the role of lawyers in the structure of democratic society demonstrates how the rule of law is yet to be fully established in Zimbabwe.

'Ms Mtetwa was carrying out her duties as a lawyer. Her arrest marks a new low in relations between the Zimbabwe State and the legal profession.'

Ends

About the Law Society of England and Wales

The Law Society of England and Wales is the independent professional body, established for solicitors in 1825, that works globally to support and represent its members, promoting the highest professional standards and the rule of law.

Press contact

Emma Alatalo
Assistant Press Officer
+44 (0)20 7316 5592
emma.alatalo@lawsociety.org.uk