High Court Overturns Dangarembga, Barnes Conviction

By Court Reporter

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) announced on Twitter that internationally acclaimed author and playwright, Tsitsi Dangarembga, and her co-accused, Julie Barnes, have been acquitted of inciting public violence by the High Court.

This comes after a lower court had convicted them for staging a peaceful demonstration in Harare in 2020.

“We have just gotten 2 pro-democracy campaigners @EfieZethu and @jbcorporatex acquitted by High Court, which set aside their conviction and found them not guilty of charges of staging an anti govt protest in 2020. They had been convicted in 2022,” posted ZLHR on Twitter.

The duo was seeking to overturn both their conviction and sentence after they were fined ZWL70 000 and given suspended jail sentences for allegedly participating in anti-government protests in 2020.

The two were represented by Harrison Nkomo of ZLHR, who expressed his satisfaction with the outcome of the case.

Dangarembga is a renowned author and playwright who has been an outspoken critic of the Zimbabwean government.

Her arrest and subsequent conviction had sparked international outrage, with many calling for her release.

In a statement, the veteran writer said the conviction was a deliberate miscarriage of justice and paid tribute to the High Court for respecting the laws of the country.

“In my view, this conviction was a blatant miscarriage of justice. The High court ruling overturning the Magistrates Court verdict shows that justice was not served in the Magistrates Court. I am most encouraged that the High Court shows respect for the law of Zimbabwe as it is codified and I pray the High Court continues to serve the people of Zimbabwe by doing so.

“At the same time, I am mindful that the modus operandi of the Harare Magistrates Court continues to appear to be a practice of weaponization of the law by the Zanu PF organisation that presides over Zimbabwean citizens against those in this Zanu PF organisation deems to be its opponents or threats to its apparent project of hi-jacking all political power in Zimbabwe,” said Dangarembga.

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