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Mtetwa, PM officials endure third night in detention
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)

March 20, 2013

Human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa was on Tuesday 19 March 2013 condemned to endure her third night in detention after Harare Provincial Magistrate, Marehwanazvo Gofa remanded her in custody to Wednesday 20 March 2013.

Magistrate Gofa remanded Mtetwa in custody to Wednesday 20 March 2013 to allow the State representdd by Michael Reza to make its submissions in response to the bail application filed by the feisty human rights lawyer’s legal practitioners Advocate Thabani Mpofu, Harrison Nkomo and Dzimbabwe Chimbga, who are all members of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

Mtetwa’s lawyers protested against the ill-treatment of their client while in police custody. They accused the police of abusing their client on Monday 18 March 2013, when two male police officers entered her detention cell at Rhodesville Police Station in the dead of the night and attempted to remove some blankets that covered her.

The lawyers protested that the police had not allowed Mtetwa to take a bath while in police custody and also denied her relatives, friends and lawyers access to her.

The police, the lawyers said interfered with Mtetwa’s privacy including that of her clients by confiscating her mobile phone when they arrested her in Harare’s Westgate suburb.

The lawyers also protested against the circumstances and the illegal manner in which the police executed the arrest of Mtetwa, a lawyer who has been in practice for more than 30 years, which was effected as she executed her professional duties of rendering legal assistance to her clients.

Mtetwa was charged with contravening Section 184 (1) (g) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act for allegedly defeating or obstructing the course of justice.

In another case, Magistrate Gofa on Tuesday 19 March 2013 also remanded to Wednesday 20 March 2013, the case of four of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s officials, who were arrested on Sunday 17 March 2013.

The four including Thabani Mpofu, Felix Matsinde, Councillor Warship Dumba and Mehluli Tshuma were charged with contravening Section 4 of Official Secrets Act for allegedly receiving or communicating secret information, Section 179 (1) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) for alleged impersonation and Section 40 (1) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act for possession of articles for criminal use.

Magistrate Gofa remanded Mpofu, Matsinde, Dumba and Tshuma in custody to Wednesday 20 March 2013 to allow Michael Mugabe, the Chief Law Officer in the Attorney General’s Office to file his submissions in response to the bail application filed by defence lawyers Alec Muchadehama and Chris Mhike.

Mpofu is also facing charges of contravening Section 4 (1) of the Firearms Act for allegedly failing to renew a firearm certificate and Section 28 (2) of the Firearms Act for allegedly keeping a firearm in a non-secure place.

Meanwhile, lawyers, human rights activists and members packed the court room on Tuesday as they attended and followed proceedings in solidarity with Mtetwa, Mpofu, Matsinde, Dumba and Tshuma.

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