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Zimbabwe Police Arrest Lawyer for Company Contesting Marange Diamond Rights

ACR attorney Jonathan Samkange arrived 10 minutes late at the Harare Magistrates Court and police arrested him on charges of contempt of court, also alleging that he made false statements in an affidavit filed in 2006

A lawyer for the London-based company that has been challenging the Zimbabwe government over rights to develop the Marange diamond field was summoned to Harare magistrate’s court on Monday and arrested.

Jonathan Samkange was summoned to a hearing in connection with an affidavit he filed in 2006 on behalf of African Consolidated Resources of London, his client, which is in litigation with the Harare government over the abrogation of a contract it was awarded giving it rights to extract diamonds from the lucrative alluvial field.

Judicial authorities charged that Samkange lied in the affidavit he filed in court saying African Consolidated chief Andrew Cranswick had been arrested.

Samkange arrived 10 minutes late at Magistrates and police arrested him on charges of contempt of court, he later told VOA. The attorney was taken to Matapi Police Station in the Harare suburb of Mbare but the officer in charge there refused to hold him overnight as the arrest warrant was issued following his arrest in Magistrates Court.

A police spokesman refused to comment on the matter saying it was still pending in court.

Samkange told VOA Studio 7 reporter Sandra Nyaira that the state wants to silence him for denouncing illegal activities in the Marange field and to bar him from representing ACR in its dispute with Harare over mining rights.