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Zimbabwe’s Court Removes Lawyer of Jailed Journalist Over Social Media Posts

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By Daniel Jones, Harare

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Jailed Zimbabwean investigative journalist Hopewell Chin’ono who was arrested a month ago for allegedly inciting public violence, was on Tuesday dealt a blow after a court ordered that his defence lawyer permanently recuses herself from the case.

Harare magistrate Ngoni Nduna disqualified Beatrice Mtetwa from representing Chin’ono, accusing her of unprofessional conduct following comments she allegedly posted on a Facebook page recently opened in her name.

The page: “Beatrice Mtetwa and the rule of law” allegedly carried a letter purportedly written by the top lawyer to the High Court registrar expressing her displeasure on the way the case was being handled.

This prompted the State prosecutors Whisper Mabhaudi and Tendai Shonhayi to apply for her removal for undermining the authority of the court.

Magistrate Nduna on Tuesday upheld the application saying Mtetwa scandalized the courts by portraying the arrest as an abduction by state security agents.

“The application for disqualification of Beatrice Mtetwa from representing the accused be and is hereby granted,” said the magistrate.

The magistrate also implored the Prosecutor General charge Mtetwa of contempt of court and the Law Society to blacklist her.

Mtetwa has however disowned the account which was “conveniently” opened when Chin’ono was denied bail.

Advocate Taona Nyamakura is now Chin’ono’s counsel and will file a fresh bail application Wednesday.

The State wants Chin’ono found guilty of incitement to participate in a gathering with intent to promote public violence, breaches of peace or bigotry or alternatively incitement to commit public violence.

He has been in custody since July 20.

Chin’ono was arrested on the same day with opposition politician Jacob Ngarivhume who is also still in custody after also being denied bail.

He is one of the many citizens tortured by the ZANU-PF government aligned security agents in the wake of a new wave of abductions, torture and arrests, including of journalists targeted for lifting the lid on government corruption.


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