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Canadian lawyer Robert “Bob” Amsterdam takes on Job Sikhala case

High profile Canadian international lawyer Robert “Bob” Amsterdam who has represented numerous opposition figures across Africa including Bobi Wine in Uganda, will now be representing opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) Vice Chairman Job Sikhala who has been locked up at the Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison for 45 days without trial.

Sikhala an outspoken MP for Zengeza West was arrested on 14 June alongside fellow MP Godfrey Sithole (Chitungwiza North) and 13 others after clashes broke out between ruling party and opposition youths following the funeral of murdered CCC activist, Moreblessing Ali.

The state is claiming there is a video of Sikhala telling party supporters to avenge the death of Ali.

High profile Canadian international lawyer Robert "Bob" Amsterdam who has represented numerous opposition figures across Africa including Bobi Wine in Uganda
High profile Canadian international lawyer Robert “Bob” Amsterdam who has represented numerous opposition figures across Africa including Bobi Wine in Uganda

Amsterdam who heads the law firm Amsterdam & Partners LLP has represented Robert Kyagulanyi (Bobi Wine) in Uganda, Freeman Mbowe and Tundu Lissu in Tanzania, and Maurice Kamto in Cameroon, among others.

The law firm, based in London and Washington DC, has also represented parties such as the Republic of Turkey and the late Fourth Republican President of Zambia Rupiah Banda. 

According to media reports, Ms. Ali was abducted in the Nyatsime area of Chitungwiza on May 24 by a known individual, and her body was found in a well three weeks later with signs of torture and mutilation.

Police arrested Mr. Sikhala on charges of allegedly inciting public violence following social media posts in which he called for accountability for the killers of Ms. Ali, while pointing to the alleged involvement of ZANU-PF individuals in the crime.

Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) deputy national chairman Job Sikhala and fellow legislator Godfrey Sithole were brought to court movie style
Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) deputy national chairman Job Sikhala and fellow legislator Godfrey Sithole were brought to court movie style

On this same day, twelve other civilians and activists were arrested, including opposition MP Sithole. They were separately charged with the same offence of inciting public violence.

On July 12 Sikhala was then re-arrested while in prison and additionally charged with obstructing or defeating the course of justice.

To date, Mr. Sikhala has been denied bail for both cases, with the latest denial of bail on 26 July at the regional magistrate court by Magistrate Mbanje.

“These trumped up, politically motivated charges against a sitting member of parliament represent a clear and brazen violation of his rights under Zimbabwean and international law,” said Amsterdam.

“The state appears to be acting in a criminal manner against Sikhala in order to cover up another ZANU-PF crime. They have jailed and denied bail to an innocent man in order to send a message of their own impunity.”

Opposition MDC Alliance Vice Chairman Job Sikhala says the “entire system is congested with idiots” after the outspoken MP was brought to and from court in leg irons
Then opposition MDC Alliance Vice Chairman Job Sikhala said the “entire system is congested with idiots” after the outspoken MP was brought to and from court in leg irons in January 2021

Amsterdam said that his law firm, which is acting on a pro bono basis in coordination with Sikhala’s local defence counsel, will submit pursue a series of international petitions with groups such as the Inter Parliamentary Union and other international law enforcement bodies to hold the regime of President Emmerson Mnangagwa to account.

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.

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