Human rights lawyer Martin Mureri of the Matutu and Mureri Legal Practitioners was forced to flee his home on Saturday night after suspicious people driving unregistered ex- Japanese cars put his house under surveillance at around 1900 hours.
Mureri told TellZim News that he was living in fear after his house was put under surveillance by people he suspects to be state security agents.
“It is true that there were people who were surveying my house on Saturday. They were driving cars which were unmarked and without number plates.
“The occupants were taking pictures of my house and I do not know to what end. I did not sleep at home that night because I feared for my life.
“I was tipped by my friends that I should be careful and watch my back because the state security agents were looking for me. I do not know why they are looking for me,” said Mureri.
He said if he had done something the wrong, the police should summon him saying he was not a difficult man to find.
“I am not a difficult man to find. If I have a case to answer, the police should summon me. I do not think this is a criminal issue but let us wait and see.
“If they want me they will eventually show their faces,” said Mureri.
Mureri recently successfully dragged the government to court over the Ngomahuru Psychiatric Hospital water challenges.
He also represented Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe leader and Masvingo teacher Shilla Chisirimunhu, who had been sentenced to serve 16 months in prison after she was convicted for participating in a protest demanding improved salaries and working conditions for teachers.
The 53 year-old Chisirimunhu, who is a widow, through Mureri petitioned the Masvingo High Court on 31 December 2020 seeking to be admitted on bail pending the determination and outcome of her appeal against both conviction and sentence.
Apparently, the Zimbabwean government has a track record of persecuting human rights defenders and their lawyers.
At one time, renowned lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa was threatened by members of the Zimbabwe Prisons and the anti-riot police while representing prominent investigative journalist Hopewell Chin’ono.
Meanwhile, some sources said that Mureri was being targeted after it emerged that he hosted MDC officials who were headed to Chilonga on Saturday.
Among the officials was MDC Alliance deputy president Tendai Biti and national organizing secretary Amos Chibaya.
Mureri denied hosting the delegation at his house saying he never met with them but only heard that they passed through Masvingo.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) on Saturday issued an alert saying they were concerned about the safety of Mureri.
“We are concerned about the situation of our member lawyer Martin Mureri from Masvingo who is alerting us of suspicious movements and activity at his home.
“Several vehicles without number plates have been sighted in the vicinity of his home. Like any other person in Zimbabwe, Mureri enjoys the fundamental freedoms and human rights that he can enjoy without fear of persecution or targeting from state or none state actors.
“We are closely monitoring the situation,” said ZLHR in an alert. -Tellzim