Beatrice Mtetwa granted bail, reports Reuters, after more than a week in custody. Sanity has finally prevailed after the High Court granted Zimbabwe’s prominent human rights lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa $500 bail.
I found myself feeling enormously relieved – But also angry at my relief. Of course, it’s good news that this inspiring, powerful woman has been released, and that she hasn’t had to wait until 3 April, as determined by the Magistrate last week.
But the fact that she has been in custody for over a week is an injustice. Her “crime?” Acting as a lawyer for her clients, and asking the police to see their search warrant and requesting an inventory of items seized from her client. In the meantime, she’s suffered the harsh conditions of Harare’s prisons on remand for a week, been bundled from one police station to another, and missed untold court appointments – meaning that her clients are also delayed access to justice.
It’s a relief for her sake that she’s been granted bail. But it’s an insult to justice in Zimbabwe that she was detained in the first place, never mind held in custody for eight nights.