International Award For Rights Lawyer

Muchadehama who is currently representing 45 social and human rights activists charged with treason was named the recipient of the first Lawyers for Lawyers Award on Thursday.

Lawyers for Lawyers (L4L), a Dutch organisation said Muchadehama had worked hard to promote the rule of law and human rights in an exceptional way in Zimbabwe despite facing threats or being obstructed in his work.

In addition to a special memento, Muchadehama will receive a sum of €10,000.

L4L said it hopes that the attention and publicity that goes with the presentation of the award will offer Muchadehama some form of protection.

Muchadehama will accept the award in April in Amsterdam at the Lawyers for Lawyers Seminar held on the occasion of the organisation’s 25th anniversary.

Muchadehama started working as a public prosecutor for the Ministry of Justice in 1991 in Harare.

He joined private practice in 1997. Immediately after his appointment as a lawyer he began standing up for victims of human rights violations and for human rights activists.

He has defended both ordinary citizens and members of trade unions and the opposition, often with success.

In addition to his “regular” work as a lawyer, Muchadehama is a member of the Rapid Response Unit of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights. In that capacity he responds to reports of human rights violations and is often the first on the scene to gather information about the situation and to assist the victims.

“Muchadehama has distinguished himself by his vigorous and intelligent approach to the cases he deals with, but particularly by the extent of his perseverance. Attempts are regularly made to make his work impossible. He is often harassed and he has several times been arrested, detained and even tortured by the authorities, always on the basis of false accusations. This has not deterred Muchadehama. Even in the first half of 2008, when the situation in Zimbabwe was very tense and many were fleeing the country, he continued unrelentingly to protect victims of human rights violations. He considers this self-evident: someone is needed to assist the many victims,” said L4L.