Bar Council statement on arrest and detention of Beatrice Mtetwa

18 March 2013

The Bar Council, which represents barristers in England and Wales, has responded to the arrest and detention of the former President of the Law Society of Zimbabwe, Beatrice Mtetwa.

Maura McGowan QC, Chairman of the Bar, said:

"We are extremely concerned to hear of Beatrice Mtetwa's arrest and detention on Sunday 17 March. We understand that she has been charged with defeating and/or obstructing the course of justice for asking the police for a reason why they were searching the home of her clients. We understand that she is still being held.

"The Bar Council is proud of its close and longstanding relationship with the Law Society of Zimbabwe and with Ms Mtetwa, who has worked tirelessly to promote the Rule of Law in Zimbabwe.

"We are appalled by her treatment and call, in the strongest terms, for the authorities in Zimbabwe to respect the rights of lawyers to represent their clients without being harassed. Sadly, this type of intrusion by the authorities now seems commonplace.

"We stand fully in support of our colleagues in Zimbabwe as they battle against these unwarranted and continual human rights abuses."

ENDS

Notes to editors

1. For further information, please contact the Bar Council Press Office on 020 7222 2525 or Press@BarCouncil.org.uk.

2. The Bar Council represents barristers in England and Wales. It promotes:

  • The Bar's high quality specialist advocacy and advisory services

  • Fair access to justice for all

  • The highest standards of ethics, equality and diversity across the profession, and

  • The development of business opportunities for barristers at home and abroad.

The General Council of the Bar is the Approved Regulator of the Bar of England and Wales. It discharges its regulatory functions through the independent Bar Standards Board.