Court acquits 4 on Mugabe insult charges

2015-01-30 11:19

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Harare - Zimbabwe's Constitutional Court has cleared four people of charges of insulting President Robert Mugabe, rights lawyers said on Thursday.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said in a statement that the court deemed the cases against the four "lacked merit".

Although the court ordered controversial anti-insult laws to be removed from the statute books in 2013, Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa - who is now also vice president - appealed. The law remains in force.

One of the cases brought before the court this week was that of opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) activist Gilbert Kagodora.

Joke image

Charges against him dated back to 2010, when he allegedly told MDC supporters to lift up Mugabe and his wife Grace and then "drop them on the ground".

He had his case removed from the court roll on Wednesday after prosecutors declined to pursue it further.

Three other opposition activists were cleared for allegedly calling Mugabe "a thief".

But Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku reserved ruling in the case of MDC secretary general Douglas Mwonzora, who is accused of comparing Mugabe to "a goblin".

The judge also reserved ruling in the case of Bulawayo resident Shantel Rusike who allegedly sent a joke image via Whatsapp of Mugabe in the nude.

The anti-insult laws have seen dozens of Zimbabweans arrested in the last few years.

Read more on:    robert mugabe  |  emmerson mnangagwa  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa

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