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MFA statement on the release of the Zimbabwean human rights defender Ms. Beatrice Mtetwa


The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic welcomes the Harare Magistrate`s Court (Zimbabwe) judgment of November 26, 2013 by which Ms. Beatrice Mtetwa has been set free from criminal charges.

Ms. Beatrice Mtetwa is a Zimbabwean lawyer working in the field of media and dealing mostly with cases where freedom of expression is at stake. Although she has herself faced violations of human rights, she provides legal aid to journalists, civil society activists and opposition leaders against accusations raised by the Government of President Robert Mugabe.

In 2010, Ms. Mtetwa participated at the Forum 2000 Conference, organized in the Czech Republic, and met the Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs. In September 2013 she met the Ambassador of the Czech Republic in Harare.

In March of this year Ms. Mtetwa was arrested by police and charged of obstructing the course of justice. This charge was pressed against her after she had provided legal aid to advisers of Mr. Morgan Tsvangiraie, the leader of the opposition party MDC-T (Movement for Democratic Change). In its judgment of November 26, 2013 the Harare Magistrate`s Court found that the prosecutor had not presented any evidence that Ms. Mterwa would have committed a crime and for this reason decided to discharge her.

Although the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic welcomes the positive outcome of this case, it will continue to follow thoroughly the overall human rights situation in the country.