Zim rights lawyer hit with new charges
10 April 2013, 08:08
Harare - Zimbabwean prosecutors have slapped fresh charges
on a prominent human rights lawyer, a legal group said on Tuesday, labelling the state's
move a "desperate bid to bolster its case".
Beatrice Mtetwa - whose arrest for obstructing justice last
month sparked international condemnation - now faces additional charges of
abusing the police, according to Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.
Mtetwa was arrested a day after Zimbabwe's constitutional
referendum, during a police raid of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's offices
She is alleged to have said: "Stop whatever you are
doing, it's unconstitutional, illegal and undemocratic. You confused
"You are Mugabe's dogs," she is also alleged to
have told police in Shona, a local language.
It is a crime in Zimbabwe to insult the police or the office
of the president.
State prosecutors presented the new charges in documents
sent to Mtetwa's lawyers ahead of a May 27 trial.
Her arrest came a day after Zimbabweans voted overwhelmingly
for a new constitution that would enshrine civil rights and pave the way for a
Police had initially ignored a court order for her release,
prompting allegations that supporters of President Robert Mugabe were pursuing
a politically motivated prosecution, a charge they deny.
Tsvangirai slammed the arrests of Mtetwa and four of his
aides saying they were "meant to harass and intimidate the nation ahead of
the election" expected later this year.
Mtetwa is now out on bail.