Lawyers accuse Zimbabwe police of contempt of court
Lawyers for the Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change have
accused the country's police of being in contempt of court Monday after to
follow a court order to release about 250 detained activists.
The High Court in Zimbabwe's capital Harare earlier in the day ordered the police to release the opposition supporters or bring them to court Monday.
The ruling by Justice Mary-Anne Gora followed an urgent appeal by opposition MDC lawyers for the release of the activists rounded up in a raid on the party's offices in Harare, saying they needed medical treatment.
Speaking outside the Harare magistrate court, MDC lawyer Alec Muchadehama said "we are of the view that this is tantamount to contempt of court by the police."
"My colleagues are at the various police stations where they are still detained. This is now an extended unlawful detention."
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena could not be reached for comment.
Police raided the headquarters of the opposition MDC on Friday in an operation they said was aimed at finding suspects accused of arson attacks in Mashonaland East province, a stronghold of the ruling ZANU PF party.
The opposition claims that there were people who had sought shelter at the offices from retributive attack at the hands of war veterans and ruling party militants in the province.
According to Muchadehama, about 30, among them elderly villagers and breastfeeding mothers and children, have been released since they were arrested on Friday.