Human rights: Author Tsitsi Dangarembga acquitted in Zimbabwe

Convicted author and Peace Prize winner Tsitsi Dangarembga successfully appealed to Zimbabwe's Supreme Court on Monday and was acquitted at second instance.

Human rights: Author Tsitsi Dangarembga acquitted in Zimbabwe

Convicted author and Peace Prize winner Tsitsi Dangarembga successfully appealed to Zimbabwe's Supreme Court on Monday and was acquitted at second instance. The multi-award-winning 64-year-old was sentenced in September in her home country to six months suspended imprisonment for five years and a fine of 70,000 Zimbabwean dollars (around 175 euros).

She had been accused of public incitement to violence, breach of the peace and bigotry. Journalist Julie Barnes, who received the same verdict, was also acquitted. The Supreme Court is the highest authority in Zimbabwe.

The reasoning of the Harare Anti-Corruption Court, which ruled in September, was flawed, Supreme Court Justice Happious Zhou ruled on Monday. The placards worn by Dangarembga and Barnes during a demonstration were not obscene, offensive, abusive or threatening, Zhou said. Almost three years ago, Dangarembga and Barnes took to the streets to advocate reform of corrupt institutions in the southern African country. They were arrested, released on parole shortly thereafter, and charged in September 2020.

The Anti-Corruption Court, which sentenced the two women in the first instance, reports directly to President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Dangarembga, who received the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade in 2021, appeared before the court dozens of times before a verdict was reached two years later. The trial dealt with topics that Dangarembga, who is married to a German, has dealt with in books and films for decades: discrimination, human rights, persecution and corruption.

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