THE Law Society of Zimbabwe has named Kennedy Masiye as the Human Rights Lawyer of the Year for his outstanding contribution to the protection and promotion of human rights in Zimbabwe.
However, Masiye was not able to receive the award personally as he is still recovering in hospital after he was brutally assaulted by the police last week.
Masiye was assaulted while attempting to represent members of a shadowy protest group led by journalist Itai Dzamara.
The demonstrators were camped at Africa Unity Square in Harare demanding that President Robert Mugabe resigns for failing to stem a serious economic implosion.
Masiye, who is a project lawyer with the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), was presented with the LSZ’s prestigious award at the lawyers’ regulatory body’s Summer School held in Nyanga last week.
In honouring Masiye, the LSZ said the lawyer had demonstrated a desire to work for the promotion and protection of human rights in the country.
“The human rights lawyer has excelled in defence of human rights and had demonstrated high ethical and moral standards in the execution of his professional duties,” said the LSZ.
“Masiye has represented and secured acquittals for several human rights defenders in the country including some former farm workers and villagers facing eviction from their living quarters.”
At the ZLHR Masiye has actively engaged in extensive litigation to fight impunity, lawlessness and bring accountability to the State and State actors and recently the State owned up to assaulting and torturing Mercedes Nyamande, a truck driver who was beaten up while he was in police custody in a bid to induce a confession.
Masiye paid tribute to his colleagues at ZLHR for committing tirelessly to defend human rights and to foster a culture of human rights in the country.
“I am humbled by the award, at least the work that I am doing as a human rights lawyer is being recognised by the legal fraternity. ZLHR has enabled me to explore my potential in the human rights field,” he said.
Masiye sustained several injuries all over his body and two fractures in one of his arms after he was brutally assaulted by the police on November 6.
The LSZ’s human rights award is sponsored by Scanlen and Holderness Legal Practitioners and targets junior to mid-career lawyers under the age of 35.
The award seeks to promote human rights litigation, advocacy and a human rights culture among young lawyers.