Quote of the week

Excluding refugees from the right to work as private security providers simply because they are refugees will inevitably foster a climate of xenophobia which will be harmful to refugees and inconsistent with the overall vision of our Constitution. As a group that is by definition vulnerable, the impact of discrimination of this sort can be damaging in a significant way. In reaching this conclusion it is important to bear in mind that it is not only the social stigma which may result from such discrimination, but also the material impact that it may have on refugees.

Mokgoro J and O’Regan J (dissenting)
Union of Refugee Women and Others v Director, Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority and Others (CCT 39/06) [2006] ZACC 23
26 November 2013

Human Rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa acquitted in ZImbabwe

FREEDOM UNDER LAW

MEDIA STATEMENT: 26 NOVEMBER 2013

Beatrice Mtetwa acquitted

Today Harare Magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa delivered a verdict of not guilty in the trial of prominent Zimbabwe human-rights lawyer and Freedom Under Law director Beatrice Mtetwa.

Ms Mtetwa had faced charges of defeating or obstructing the course of justice by her conduct toward officers who were searching the house of a client of hers, an official from the opposition party of former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

She was arrested on 17 March this year and has appeared in court on numerous occasions since then. [See the FUL website for the FUL media release dated March 17, 2013, as also the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights statement dated March 26, 2013.]

According to the Zimbabwe Human Rights Bulletin and other sources, the magistrate concluded that Ms Mtetwa had done nothing to interfere with the investigations the police were conducting. She found the police evidence contradictory and insufficient to put Ms Mtetwa on her defence. An inspection in loco cast further doubt on the State case.

The magistrate also declared that photographing the scene would not have constituted the offence charged and that, in any event, forensic examination of Ms Mtetwa’s phone produced no evidence that photographs of the scene had been taken. The magistrate found there was no evidence that Ms Mtetwa had stopped or interfered with the search the police were conducting, and acquitted her at the end of the State case.

Freedom Under Law applauds a courageous judicial decision.

www.freedomunderlaw.orgToday Harare Magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa delivered a verdict of not guilty in the trial of prominent Zimbabwe human-rights lawyer and Freedom Under Law director Beatrice Mtetwa.

Ms Mtetwa had faced charges of defeating or obstructing the course of justice by her conduct toward officers who were searching the house of a client of hers, an official from the opposition party of former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

She was arrested on 17 March this year and has appeared in court on numerous occasions since then. [See the FUL website for the FUL media release dated March 17, 2013, as also the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights statement dated March 26, 2013.]

According to the Zimbabwe Human Rights Bulletin and other sources, the magistrate concluded that Ms Mtetwa had done nothing to interfere with the investigations the police were conducting. She found the police evidence contradictory and insufficient to put Ms Mtetwa on her defence. An inspection in loco cast further doubt on the State case.

The magistrate also declared that photographing the scene would not have constituted the offence charged and that, in any event, forensic examination of Ms Mtetwa’s phone produced no evidence that photographs of the scene had been taken. The magistrate found there was no evidence that Ms Mtetwa had stopped or interfered with the search the police were conducting, and acquitted her at the end of the State case.

Freedom Under Law applauds a courageous judicial decision.

www.freedomunderlaw.org

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