The following press release was distributed to media today:
LONDON, 1 AUGUST 2022 – On Tuesday, August 2, the Zimbabwean Member of Parliament Job Sikhala will be appearing in court for a bail hearing after 47 days of jail time which will be closely monitored by the international community, says Sikhala’s lawyer Robert Amsterdam.
Mr. Sikhala, who represents the constituency of Zenveza West in Parliament was originally arrested on June 14 following a funeral for a murdered political activist, Moreblessing Ali, whom he represented as her lawyer. Police charged him with alleged incitement of violence, then later re-arrested him while in jail for fresh charges of obstruction of justice.
Sikhala’s legal team says the charges are politically motivated and without merit.
“Let us be very clear: the world is watching this upcoming bail hearing to ensure that due process and rule of law is observed in the case of Job Sikhala,” said Robert Amsterdam of Amsterdam & Partners LLP, who represents Mr. Sikhala on a pro bono basis alongside his local defence counsel. “There is no reason why Mr. Sikhala should spend one minute longer in jail, as this unlawful detention represents a clear violation of Zimbabwean and international law.”
Job Sikhala has been arrested more than 70 times during the regimes of President Robert Mugabe and President Emmerson Mnangagwa, but never convicted of any crime, earning him the nickname of ‘Wiwa,’ referring to the heroic Nigerian activist Ken Saro Wiwa.
Amsterdam has indicated that his law firm is preparing applications before international bodies which may include listing members of government and judiciary who engage in human rights abuses.
Mr. Amsterdam has a history of working in Zimbabwe. He was awarded the Global Pro Bono Dispute of the Year Award by the magazine The American Lawyer for his successful representation of whistleblower Georges Tadonki in a dispute with the United Nations.
Amsterdam & Partners LLP has represented numerous opposition figures across Africa, including Robert Kyagulanyi (Bobi Wine) in Uganda, Freeman Mbowe and Tundu Lissu in Tanzania, and Maurice Kamto in Cameroon, among others. The firm has also represented parties such as the Republic of Turkey and the late Fourth Republican President of Zambia Rupiah Banda. Amsterdam & Partners LLP is based in London and Washington DC. More information is available at https://amsterdamandpartners.com/.