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Splinter Group of Zimbabwe Rights Lawyers Defends Matabele Separatists

  • Sithandekile Mhlanga

The Matabeleland Liberation Front has called for a separate Matabele state, and while the Abammeli Human Rights Network says it does not necessarily share this view it believes everyone deserves legal representation

A group of attorneys who broke away from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights to form the Abammeli Human Rights Network said Monday that they have officially begun to represent three members of the Matabeleland Liberation Front facing treason charges.

Members of the Abammeli Human Rights Network, which taps prominent Matabeleland lawyers, say they broke away from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights last week after the latter organization said the Liberation Front's views were too radical.

The Matabeleland Liberation Front has called for the creation of a separate Matabele state. An Abammeli Human Rights Network spokesman said the group does not necessarily share those views, but believes that everyone deserves legal representation.

A Bulawayo High Court judge Monday postponed ruling on bail for the three defendants: John Gazi, Thomas Gumbo, and former presidential candidate Paul Siwela.

Abammeli lawyer Kucaca Phulu told VOA reporter Sithandekile Mhlanga that the case has drawn much attention in the region and the High Court was packed on Monday.

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