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Kennedy Masiye – L4L letter

Zimbabwe

On 6 November 2014, lawyer Kennedy Masiye was physically attacked by police officers, when he tried to intervene in an assault by police officers on journalist Itai Dzamara. Masiye was left severely injured with a broken arm.

In October 2014, Itai Dzamara, organised the Occupy Africa Unity Square, a sit-in in which the protesters demanded accountability from the Zimbabwean government for its alleged “failure to satisfy the needs of its people.” On 6 November 2014, Dzamara and his colleagues continued their sit-in on the Africa Unity Square. After some hours, several police officers arrived at the square and ordered the protesters to disperse. Soon after giving the order, they reportedly started beating those participating at the sit-in. When human rights lawyer Masiye tried to intervene in the assault on Dzamara and his colleagues, the police officers started beating him too, despite the fact that he clearly identified himself as a legal practitioner executing his professional responsibilities to provide legal assistance. The police threw away his practising certificate, reportedly stating: “We do not care about such things”.

Masiye left the square severely injured. Later, as he attempted to file a report at Harare Central Police station, Masiye was arbitrarily detained. His whereabouts remained unknown to his colleagues, as police attempted to hide his presence at the police station. After he was eventually found and released to his colleagues, police refused to provide a medical examination. Kennedy Masiye collapsed as a result of his injuries and was rushed to a private hospital.

L4L is gravely concerned by the use of physical violence against Kennedy Masiye by the police. L4L called upon the Zimbabwe authorities to make sure that a prompt, thorough, impartial and transparent investigation into the attack on Kennedy Masiye will be carried out, so as to identify all those responsible, bring them before a competent and impartial tribunal and apply to them the sanctions provided by the law.

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