Rights lawyer Mtetwa acquitted


HARARE – A Harare magistrate has cleared prominent human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa of any wrong-doing on charges of obstructing the course of justice.

Magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa yesterday ruled that the state had failed to prove a case against Mtetwa, before discharging her at the close of the state’s case.

“From the foregoing there is no evidence that the accused obstructed the course of justice and there is no reason to place her on her defence,” Mugwagwa said.

Mtetwa could not hide her joy after the court ruling.

“Yeah, I am free,” she said, as relatives and friends came to embrace her, celebrating her freedom.

“I am vindicated, this was a set up,” she told reporters, claiming the state had achieved nothing by disturbing her from representing her clients.

Asked what was the next step she was going to take, Mtetwa simply said: “Aluta continua”.

The human rights lawyer, who was represented by Harrison Nkomo, had denied State claims that she obstructed the course of justice.

She said the State brought the charges against her in a contrived plot to pin her.

She also denied having uttered any statements that were attributed to her by the State.

Nkomo said the malicious nature of the prosecution was shown by the police’s actions when they visited the High Court to look for her professional documents.

He said the malice went as far as a visit by intelligence operatives at her former husband’s house, masquerading as journalists, while trying to convince him to dish out any “dirt” on her.

Charges against Mtetwa arose after she was arrested when she went to assist then prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s chief legal advisor, Thabani Mpofu, during a police raid at his Harare home on March 17 this year.

During the raid, Felix Matsinde, Mehluli Tshuma and former Harare councillor Warship Dumba were also arrested.

The four are accused of possessing articles for criminal use, impersonating the police and contravening the Official Secrets Act.

Allegations were brought against the four after detectives received information that they were in possession of dockets they were privately compiling to discredit the judicial system.

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