By Lance Guma
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The outcome was never in doubt, but like most ‘persecution by prosecution’ cases in Zimbabwe, human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtwetwa, was arrested and detained in March for daring to ask if police officers had a search warrant to enter her clients house.
Mtetwa was subsequently charged with obstructing justice and being ‘unruly’ to police officers before being acquitted today. The process has become almost a ritual for anyone brave enough to fight for human rights and democracy in Zimbabwe.
On Tuesday Harare magistrate Rumbidzai Mugwagwa acquitted Mtetwa and ruled that there was no evidence supporting the charges against her. But then most people knew Mtetwa was a victim of Zanu PF’s now infamous ‘persecution by prosecution’.
In March police raided the homes and offices of four aides of the then Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. Mtetwa recorded the drama on her phone and demanded a search warrant and an inventory of items being seized. This annoyed the police.
Mtetwa was arrested and illegally detained for seven days. Her release followed both a domestic and international outcry. Speaking at the time Mtetwa said she was “just being used as the example” and there “will be many more to follow.”