Court bars prominent Zim rights lawyer from representing Hopewell Chin’ono

Magistrate Ngoni Nduna on Tuesday accused Beatrice Mtetwa of undermining public confidence in the judiciary and said she should be deregistered by the Law Society of Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa (L) and journalist Hopewell Chin’ono (R) in court on 18 August 2020 . Picture: @ZLHRLawyers/Twitter.

HARARE - A top human rights lawyer in Zimbabwe on Tuesday was barred from representing detained journalist and anti-corruption activist Hopewell Chin’ono.

Magistrate Ngoni Nduna accused Beatrice Mtetwa of undermining public confidence in the judiciary and said she should be deregistered by the Law Society of Zimbabwe.

This was a controversial ruling against Zimbabwe’s most prominent rights lawyer.

State lawyers had accused Mtetwa of posting details of the court case on Facebook. Mtetwa told the court last week that the Facebook page did not belong to her but to a documentary filmmaker.

Legal experts said that it was unlikely the magistrate’s ruling would stand up to a challenge in the high court.

But speaking to journalists outside the court, Mtetwa said that it would have a chilling effect on other human rights lawyers.

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